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Anti-microbial milk proteins could help alleviate acne, psoriasis and halitosis

By Katie Bird , 28-Oct-2009
Last updated the 28-Oct-2009 at 15:25 GMT

Proteins in milk that form part of the cow’s natural protection against milking related infections can be formulated into anti-microbial cosmetics and oral care products, according to manufacturer Quantec.

The New Zealand-based company has been working on the Immune Defence Proteins (IDP) for three years and is now ready to launch the ingredients onto the skin care and supplements market.

Rod Claycomb, managing director of the company, explained how the proteins form part of the cow’s own defence system.

“After milking, cows are quite prone to bacterial infection of the mammary gland called mastitis. This suite of proteins is nature’s own way of helping to protect the cow,” he said.

According to Claycomb, there are applications for the proteins in both human and animal health.

Anti-bacterial lozenges

Currently the company is preparing for the launch of the ingredient onto the oral care market at the food and supplements show Supply Side West in Las Vegas next month.

“IDP is good at nailing the bad bacteria in the mouth that lead to halitosis and gum disease,” Claycomb explained.

In order to extend the time in contact with the oral cavity, chewing gum or lozenges would be the best delivery method, he said.

In addition, Quantec is launching the ingredient onto the topical skin care market where the anti-microbial mode of action is similar but the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of the proteins are equally important.

Potential applications for skin care include anti-acne formulations, products proposing relief from psoriasis and dandruff, as well as anti-fungal systems such as those fighting against yeast infections like candida albicans and athletes foot.

Although Quantec will primarily focus on the US cosmetics and supplements market, the launch is global and the company is seeking international clients.

For the human health applications the company proposes to stay within the cosmetics and supplements market and not venture into the pharmaceutical ‘treatment space’; however, Quantec hopes its animal health applications will result in a registered animal pharmaceutical.

Animal health applications

IDP’s role in animal health centre’s on developing an antibiotic-free treatment for mastitis. This could be a significant earner for the company as the demand for non-antibiotic treatments is impressive.

Currently when a cow is receiving antibiotics its milk cannot be mixed into the rest of the milk supply, which is costly for the farmer, explained Claycomb, and if there is unintentional mixing the farmer is liable to a heavy fine.

As IDP is found naturally in the milk itself - treatment would simply involve adding extra IDP - milk from cows treated with it would not need to be separated, he explained.

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