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Lactose: the milk sugar from a biotechnological perspective.

Lactose is a very important sugar because of its abundance in the milk of humans and domestic animals. Lactose is a valuable asset as a basic nutrient and the main substrate in fermentative processes that led to the production of fermented milk products, such as yogurt and kefir. In some instances, lactose also can be a problem as the causative agent of some diseases, such as lactose intolerance and galactosemia, or for being a by-product generated in huge amounts by the cheese industry. The study of the biochemical reactions leading to the synthesis and assimilation of lactose has provided valuable models for the understanding of biosynthetic and catabolic processes. Lactose-hydrolyzing enzymes are structurally and phylogenetically related to different types of beta-galactosidases and bacterial cellobiases involved in the enzymatic degradation of cellulose. Biotransformation of lactose, by either enzymatic or fermentative procedures, is important for different types of industrial applications in dairy and pharmaceutical industries.[1]


  1. Lactose: the milk sugar from a biotechnological perspective. Adam, A.C., Rubio-Texeira, M., Polaina, J. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. (2004) [Pubmed]
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