Lactase causes the hydrolysis of Lactose to Glucose & Galactose, through catalysing the hydrolysis reaction. This is ideal as both sugars that are formed after the hydrolysis are both sweeter and easier to digest. Cats and 75% of adult humans are thought to not be able to digest lactose and be lactose intolerant, therefore Milk can be treated with Lactase for Cats and lactose intolerant people. The reaction for this reaction is:
Lactase + Water Galactose + Glucose
The Lactase Enzyme is very useful for those who have lactose intolerance and is used, generally in industry in many places where the milk and thus the lactose in the product would cause distress, and since Lactose is present in concentrations of about 4.7%1 it is easy to see why it is necessary to remove it. Here are some examples of how Lactose is used in Industry:
Lactose Reduced Milk - The enzyme can be applied to Milk for people and cats. The reaction with Lactase is also good a no extra sugar has to be added because the sugars formed, Glucose and Galactose, are both sweeter than Lactose. For condensed milk the reaction is also key as it stops the crystallisation of Lactose and unwanted thickening caused by casein coagulation. Ice Cream – For those who are intolerant to Lactose, the ice cream allows them to enjoy what they usually couldn’t. They ice cream can be formed via the milk used or adding the Lactose into the ice cream however either way is suitable. This is because, no Lactose crystals are formed. The texture of the ice cream and so Suppliers can actually live up to the ‘soft scoop’ claim they always make.
Lactose Tablets2 – Prevents side effects from Lactose Intolerance such as cramps, diarrhoea and gas. Therefore, tablets can be put in milk or taken before consuming it. The pills are thought to be safe, can be bought commercially and are prescription free.
With the more developed counties in Europe and North America spending money to develop Lactose free milk we must ask ourselves if Asian and African if knowledge should be shared on how to make it…