Seamus O’Mahony


Dr Seamus (James) A. O’Mahony is a Lecturer in Food Science at University College Cork, Ireland. He graduated from University College Cork with a BSc in Food Science and a PhD in Food Science and Technology in 2001 and 2005, respectively. Seamus worked in a number of industrial research and development positions for 5 years with Wyeth and Pfizer Nutrition. He currently has a large research group with over 20 PhD and MSc students and postdoctoral researchers. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 10 book chapters and edited or co-authored 2 books over the last 10 years and has secured > €5m in competitively-won research funding since joining UCC.



Milk Protein Ingredients for Infant Nutrition

James (Seamus) A. O’Mahony

School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Bovine milk is a good, and commonly-used, starting material for the development of milk protein ingredients for use in development of infant formulae (IF) products to satisfy the nutritional requirements of infants. The protein and ash contents of human milk are significantly lower than those of bovine milk, with the protein profile of the former also being whey dominant. Formulation of the protein platform of IF products is very much led by knowledge of breast milk composition and biochemistry (which in turn informs the regulations) and traditionally involves recombination of skim milk and demineralised whey to comply with the highly-regulated limits for protein content, amino acid profile and mineral profile. There is an increasing focus on matching, not just the gross chemical composition, but the health outcomes of breast-fed infants in formula-fed infants. This has contributed to considerable research over recent years in the development of individual whey (e.g., a-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein concentrate) and casein (e.g., b-casein) protein fractions, minor whey protein-enriched ingredients (e.g., lactoferrin and osteopontin) and modified (e.g., enzymatically hydrolysed) milk protein ingredients for use in infant nutrition applications. In addition to providing essential amino acids and conferring specific bioactivities, milk protein ingredients are of major technological significance in the development and stabilisation of IF – their heat stability, emulsification and mineral-binding properties all need to be thoroughly understood to facilitate prediction and control of processing performance, stability, sensory properties and shelf life of IF products. The traditional model for utilisation of milk protein ingredients in infant nutrition applications, whereby milk protein ingredients are recombined individually with water, oils and other ingredients is also evolving and this presentation will outline some of the latest research from Ireland using integrated membrane filtration approaches for development of next-generation milk protein ingredients for use in infant nutrition applications.

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