Researchers go nuts over plant milk


January 8, 2014

Researchers use probiotic bacteria from nuts to make new products

Researchers use probiotic bacteria from nuts to make new products

The vegetable milk market could be about to get more varied with the findings of a new study carried out in Spain. Using probiotic bacteria obtained from grains and nuts, researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València have come up with a range of fermented products. They hope their findings will increase the choice and the quality of plant milks for people with allergies, lactose intolerance, pregnant women and, of course, vegans.

The raw materials the researchers worked with include almonds, oats and hazelnuts, and they also intend to experiment with walnuts and chestnuts. The tests carried out in vitro revealed that these milks can help fight intestinal inflammation. The researchers also found ways to improve the stability of plant milks already available in the market.

"Overall, the project results contribute to increase knowledge about the nutritional and health properties of vegetable milks, in view of future industrial applications to develop innovative quality products suitable both for the general public and for specific groups," researcher Chelo González said in a press statement.

The health claims associated with plant milks are quite impressive. Besides offering an alternative to those people who cannot consume animal milk for health or ethical reasons, they help increase the absorption of iron, which the caseins and other allergens found in cow’s milk inhibit. They are also a good source of vitamins B and E, antioxidants and fiber.

Diabetic people can also benefit from them due to the low sugar content of their fatty acids and carbohydrates. Nut-based milks can supply pregnant women with a high amount of folic acid, and help keep a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorous.

The study also included researchers from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA -CSIC) and the University College of Dublin (Ireland).


About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology. All articles by Antonio Pasolini

Now that's what I call milking an idea for all it's worth ! Great for those who cannot drink regular cows milk and variety is always a welcome addition to the shelves at your local food store.

Charles Jones

"...people who cannot consume animal milk for...ethical reasons"? It's called CHOOSING not to consume the genuine article. Only in the unlikely scenario of humanely-produced animal milk being unavailable does it become an issue of ethics.

John Gochnauer

John, I agree that it is a choice, but humanely produced animal milk still has a very high environmental cost compared with many kinds of plant milk production - so in the same way as many choose alternatives to driving for ethical reasons, many also choose alternatives to animal milk products. I would also say that the availability of truly humanely derived dairy in cities, at least in the US is pretty low. After all, most businesses can't afford to let bulls just lounge around until they die of natural causes and since half of the animals produced to create milk for humans are male, that makes it hard to buy milk that isn't giving an early death sentence to a lot of animals. Of course real commercial milk production does make that look humane, but it still isn't what someone who is avoiding killing animals wants to do.

Charles Bosse
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