Human Milk Oligosaccharides


A growing body of evidence suggests that human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) promote infant health by supporting digestive, immune, and cognitive development and have the potential to benefit adults, as well.

What are human milk oligosaccharides?

HMOs are sugars that exist in human breast milk, the third-most-abundant solid component after lactose and fats. While these prebiotics pass through a baby’s gut undigested, in the large intestine they feed “good” bacteria and promote crucial benefits related to immunity, digestion, and cognitive health—benefits that begin in infancy but have a lifelong impact on human health.

Infant formula and beyond

Research indicates that commercially produced HMOs can mimic some of the health-promoting effects of the HMOs present in human milk. Produced through fermentation, the Nutrition & Biosciences HMO allows makers of infant nutrition products to create formula that is closer to human milk than ever before, and means that formula-fed babies no longer have to miss out on the benefits of these essential components of breast milk. Through our expertise in both infant nutrition and pre- and probiotics, Nutrition & Biosciences is uncovering ways in which the health-promoting benefits of HMOs can be utilized not just in infant formula but in dietary supplements, as well, extending the advantages of HMOs across the population.


Over 130 different oligosaccharides have been identified in human milk, with 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) being the most abundant. The Nutrition & Biosciences 2’-FL, CARE4U™, is permitted in the European Union as a novel food for use in infant and follow-on formula, foods for young children, medical foods, and other foods. In the U.S., CARE4U™ is GRAS for use in infant formula and toddler foods. CARE4U™ may also be used as a dietary ingredient for supplements in both the EU and the U.S. At >98% 2’-FL, Nutrition & Biosciences CARE4U™ is the highest-purity product available on the market today, with superior powder properties that allow for ease in formulation. 

It’s What’s Inside

It only makes sense that Nutrition & Biosciences is a leader in HMOs; it’s in the work we do every day, and have been doing for more than 50 years. Our decades of experience with infant nutrition combined with our leadership in the fields of microbiome science and pre- and probiotics provide an unmatched innovation platform that allows our customers to anticipate and meet the needs of end consumers.

Learn more about CARE4U™

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Application areas

Take a deeper look inside Nutrition & Biosciences for your cheese, yogurt and other dairy needs. See how our market insights, research, and experience can open up your potential to satisfy nutrition-conscious consumers while keeping your costs down.
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