Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research were retained as consultants by the Newtricious R&D company to develop a long-life dairy drink targeted at preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Combining egg yolk enriched with the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids into a long-life dairy drink was the ambitious plan of Newtricious R&D. Carotenoids could help prevent AMD – the leading cause of blindness in people over 55 in Western countries. This idea was so innovative that existing research literature was of little value, for example on the bioavailability of functional components in the product or on suitable drying techniques. Early to market was considered vital, so Newtricious R&D engaged Food & Biobased Research, to benefit from their scientific and applied knowledge in the areas of separation, protein and process technology, product development, ingredients, marketing, pharmacy and clinical (in vivo and in vitro) research. Food & Biobased Research experts handled every aspect of the project management, including a risk assessment and analysis of the development process.
From drying technique to bioavailability
Food & Biobased Research also developed a suitable drying technique in order to produce a long-life dairy drink in powder form. The team examined, amongst other processes, the effect of spray-drying on the performance of functional components in the product. For Adriaan Goede BV – the company to which Newtricious R&D outsources the egg-yolk drying process – the experts at Food & Biobased Research developed a drying protocol and, on site, optimised the spray drying process. They also made significant improvements in the recipe and ingredients, the solubility of the powder and, together with the company Aroma Uden, developed a range of flavours for the powder. They also studied the effect of different packaging and packaging conditions on the shelf life of the powder. The project team also examined the bioavailability of the for AMD main beneficial component, lutein, through laboratory experiments (in vitro) and in a clinical study (in vivo). This study benefitted from collaboration with the Department of Human Nutrition at Wageningen University.
The Newtricious R&D product, MacuView, has been available at a web shop, pharmacies and opticians since early 2014. A clinical study showed that lutein from the dry powder is absorbed equally well as from a ready-made dairy drink. The study – published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition – brings Newtricious R&D one step closer to a proven product-health claim targeted at AMD. The project also developed a new method for the rapid analysis of lutein in egg yolk and egg powder – a valuable tool when making small adjustments in formulation or manufacturing processes. Thanks to the project, Newtricious R&D also has a new collaboration partner in Aroma Uden.
Newtricious R&D and Food & Biobased Research will continue their collaboration, now focussing on extending the shelf life of the powder, upscaling the production process and developing other innovative products.