Isaiah Speight


Summer Research Description:  The purpose of this study is to synthesize a new additive for infant formula. Although studies have shown that breast milk is unmatchable for infant development, many communities have low levels of sustained breastfeeding and rely on commercial food products. This is detrimental, as there are over 200 complex carbohydrates present in breastmilk that are only be found in humans, and absent in bovine milk, which is the foundation of infant formula. As a substitute, pharmaceutical companies use galactooligosacchrides to mimic human milk sugars. Unfortunately their structures do not feature the branching observed in human milk sugars. We hypothesize that the formation of branched oligosaccharides will have better properties because these new compounds will resemble the sugars and carbohydrates found in human milk. This can be highly beneficial in those communities where breastfeeding is low or non-existent by introducing bottle fed children to the nutrients they need to develop at the same rate with the same brain function and ability as those who are breast fed.