The most commonly used method to produce HMOs are
through precisely controlled fermentation of
lactose, either via a strain of non-harmful bacteria
The industry uses either the bacteria Escherichia
coli, which is often used to produce proteins and
metabolites, or the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
used in baking, winemaking and brewing. The process
is pretty similar to the process that Impossible
Burger uses to make soy leghemoglobin out of yeast.
After fermentation, HMOs go through many steps of
purification to remove all microorganism cells and
other starting ingredients used for the
fermentation, resulting in a final product that is
typically more than 90% pure and safe for human
consumption. Sometimes the HMOs are produced with a
purity of more than 98% according to laboratory
tests (the 98% purity level refers to Layer Origin
Nutrition's PureHMO™ products).
The HMOs produced using microorganisms were first
introduced into the market for their use in infant
formula. They have to go through very strict safety
validations before being approved by federal
agencies, such as U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), for their use in infant formulas.