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July 25, 2018

BASF and UC Davis collaborating to unlock new potential in human milk oligosaccharides

FLORHAM PARK, NJ and DAVIS, CA, July 25, 2018 – BASF and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) announced a collaboration to unlock new benefits of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). The long-term objective of this strategic research partnership is to develop and validate second-generation HMO molecules as potent bioactive compounds that can influence the establishment and maintenance of the gut microbiome and provide benefits beyond the gastrointestinal tract, such as brain health, for infants, children and adults.

Human milk contains a multitude of HMOs, a class of indigestible carbohydrates that is gaining recognition for a variety of health-promoting activities. Substantial evidence demonstrates that the high diversity of structures and concentration of HMOs in human milk contribute to improved health outcomes associated with breastfeeding.

BASF recently announced the launch of 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) for infant nutrition and is now taking next steps to expand its scientific and application know-how in the area of HMOs.

“This collaboration is an essential cornerstone of our strategic initiative to become a leading science-based player in the fields of HMO and microbiome,” said Stefan Rüdenauer, Director of Development and Scientific Marketing Human Nutrition, BASF.

The two-year partnership with UC Davis’ research team is part of BASF’s California Research Alliance (CARA), which brings together experts from major universities on the West Coast to collaborate on new materials and their applications, biosciences and related technologies. Professors Daniela Barile, David Mills, Helen Raybould, Xi Chen, and Bruce German from the Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis will use their collective expertise to reveal new applications for HMOs. BASF’s contributions to the partnership include its proficiency in fermentation products and the development of human nutrition solutions, as well as project funding.

“We are excited to partner with BASF to unlock novel HMO functionalities,” said Professor Barile. “This project will employ a range of microbiological and physiological studies employing cutting-edge glycomics and metagenomics tools to explore how HMOs interact with the human host and the microbes within them.”

For a press photo, please click the following link:
Suggested caption: Representatives from BASF and UC Davis recently signed a collaboration agreement expressing their mutual commitment to unlocking new potential for human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). Front, left to right: Prasant Mohapatra (UC Davis), Benjamin Knudsen (BASF), Ahmad Hakim-Elahi (UC Davis), Stefan Rüdenauer (BASF), Dushyant Pathak (UC Davis). Back, left to right: Marianne Heer (BASF), Anita Oberbauer (UC Davis), David Mills (UC Davis), Yan Qin (BASF), Helen Raybould (UC Davis), Daniela Barile (UC Davis), Yoram Barak (BASF), Bruce German (UC Davis), Xi Chen (UC Davis).


About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 18,200 employees in North America, and had sales of $17.9 billion in 2017. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at

About CARA

The California Research Alliance (CARA) is one of four BASF scientific excellence clusters that collaborate with research groups on a regional level, maintaining a network between BASF, the campuses of the University of California system, Stanford and Caltech. The researchers at CARA work in a variety of scientific disciplines including new materials, biosciences, formulations, and catalysis, as well as computational and engineering disciplines.

The CARA collaboration, started in 2014 with 10 postdoctoral positions, has been extended to approximately 50 postdoctoral positions today. CARA researchers have filed 10 patents, and have had more than 20 peer-reviewed papers accepted or published. In addition, the first research projects have already been transferred to BASF R&D for further development. Peidong Yang, CARA Co-Director and Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, said, “With this newest collaboration, we now have multiple CARA research projects active between BASF, the UC campuses, Stanford, and Caltech. The broad research expertise represented by this vibrant West Coast scientific community will surely expedite the discovery process for many scientific and technological questions.”

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 35,000 students, an annual research budget of over $780 million and a comprehensive health system. The university offers 102 undergraduate majors and 96 graduate programs through four colleges and six professional schools.


Betsy Arnone
Betsy Arnone
Global Communications Precious Metals
Last Update July 25, 2018