Bovine lactoferrin and lactoferricin derived from milk: production and applications

Tomita M, Wakabayashi H, Yamauchi K, Teraguchi S, Hayasawa H Biochem Cell Biol 2002 80:109-12


Bovine lactoferrin is produced on an industrial scale from cheese whey or skim milk. The safety of purified lactoferrin has been confirmed from the results of a reverse mutation test using bacteria, a 13-week oral repeated-dose toxicity study in rats, and clinical studies. In order to apply active lactoferrin to various products, a process for its pasteurization was developed. Subsequently, lactoferrin has been used in a wide variety of products since it was first added to infant formula in 1986.

A pepsin hydrolysate of lactoferrin is also used in infant formula. This hydrolysate contains a potent antimicrobial peptide named lactoferricin that is derived from the lactoferrin molecule by pepsin digestion. Semilarge-scale purification of lactoferricin can be performed by hydrophobic interaction chromatography. Lactoferricin also exhibits several biological actions and appears to be the functional domain of lactoferrin. Recent studies have demonstrated that oral administration of lactoferrin or lactoferricin exerts a host-protective effect in various animals and in humans.

The results of these studies strongly suggest that the effects of oral lactoferrin are mediated by modulation of the immune system. Further elucidation of the clinical efficacy and mechanism of action of lactoferrin will increase the value of lactoferrin-containing products.

Author Address

Nutritional Science Laboratory, Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd., Zama, Kanagawa, Japan.

Word Count: 224 Words