New lactase improves production of lactose-free dairy products

Novozymes Saphera® enables new innovation in lactose-free, fermented dairy products.

Today, Novozymes, the world’s leading enzyme provider, is launching Saphera – a lactase enzyme that sets a new standard for production and quality of a wide range of lactose-free products, including milk and fermented dairy products such as yogurt. Originated from Bifidobacterium bifidum, Saphera differs considerably from traditional lactases made from yeast, and is the first, major innovation in this growing industry for years.

With Saphera, the desired lactose level can be more precisely measured and easily reached. This is because less oligosaccharides – carbohydrates – are formed during the reaction compared to yeast lactases, particularly when producing 0.01% lactose-free milk.

“Saphera works at lower pH and higher temperature than other lactases and is therefore not only suitable for production of lactose-free milk and other products, but also for fermented dairy products,” says Simon Lyndegaard, Director, Food Platforms & Strategic Development. “It works extremely well in yogurt production – better than conventional yeast-based lactases. In addition, the lack of invertase and other critical side activities makes Saphera a great solution in sweetened dairy products, maintaining physical and organoleptic properties during shelf life better than any other product on the market.”

Saphera converts lactose in dairy to galactose and glucose. This enables the dairy producer to reduce the amount of added sugars and still achieve the same degree of sweetness in lactose-free dairy products. This offers the dairy producer the opportunity for more attractive product labels with claims of reduced added sugar.

Lactose-free products becoming mainstream

Lactose intolerance is a common condition, particularly in emerging markets. In addition, health-conscious consumers are increasingly demanding healthier “free-from” products, a trend that has moved lactose-free dairy products from being a specialty segment to mainstream and enabling dairies to address new, higher-margin markets that are growing at three or four times faster than the market for other dairy products.

Through partnerships with customers across the industry, Novozymes is helping transform the quality and sustainability of food and beverages. Simon Lyndegaard:

“As we launch this new lactase, Novozymes will continue to bring significant innovation to the dairy industry in close collaboration with our partners – helping find answers for better lives in a growing world.”

Contact: Frederik Bjørndal (


Lactose, lactases, and Saphera quick facts:

People who are lactose-intolerant lack the digestive enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose, or milk sugar, in dairy products
To make lactose-free products, dairy companies use lactase enzymes to split lactose to glucose and galactose – two sugars that can be safely digested by everyone, enabling also lactose-intolerant people to enjoy and benefit from dairy products.

It is estimated that approximately 70% of the world population suffers from a degree of lactose intolerance
Saphera is applicable for a broad range of dairy products including fresh, ESL and UHT milk, milk drinks, cream, ice cream, fermented dairy products and dulce de leche. Saphera is available in a variety of formulations to meet varying processing needs.

Saphera is sold as a liquid standard product (Saphera 2600 L) for use in batch process and in in-line dosing systems (i.e. TetraPak Aldose). It is sold as a sterile liquid product (Saphera 900 LS) for use in aseptic in-line dosing systems (i.e. TetraPak FlexDos).