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The importance of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs): prebiotics in milk and milk products

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Wesley Zandberg, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, who completed his PhD and post-doctorate work at Simon Fraser University. While working on projects aimed at developing inhibitors for the enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates, Wesley was introduced to the challenges associated with analyzing the surprisingly complex range of carbohydrates found in nature. Students in the Zandberg lab are now focused on developing improved analytical methods for glycobiology.

The risky business of aflatoxins in milk

If you’re in the dairy or food testing business, you know the threat aflatoxins pose. Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus parasiticus, aspergillus flavus , and rarely aspergillus nomius.1 These are likely the most extensively researched group of mycotoxins because of their adverse health effects.2 What’s more, they are widely found in a variety of crops, namely maize, tree nuts, and spices. Believed to be primarily caused by rising temperatures and humidity, these naturally occurring fungi grow on crops in the field, or during storage of feed and raw materials, where they can potentially produce toxins that enter the food chain.