Lactase Enzyme Structure - Symptoms of Deficiency of Lactase


Lactase (or β-galactosidase) is the enzyme involved in the hydrolysis of lactose to galactose and glucose.

Lactase enzyme produced commercially can be extracted from yeast fungi such as Kluyveromyces fragilis. Its primary commercial use is to break down lactose in milk to make it suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

Lactase is also used in the manufacture of ice cream. Because glucose and galactose are sweeter than lactose, lactase produces a more pleasant taste.

Lactose also crystallises at the low temperatures of ice cream; however, its constituent products stay liquid and contribute to a smoother texture. Lactase is used in the conversion of whey into syrup.

Lactase is produced by the body. Dairy products have varying levels of lactose, which affects how much lactase is required for proper digestion. Milk, ice cream, and yogurt contain significant amounts of lactose - although for complex reasons yogurt often doesn't trigger symptoms in lactose-intolerant people.

Lactase has an optimum temperature of about 48 °C for its activity and an optimum pH of 6.5.

Lactose is a disaccharide with one glucose sugar molecule bound to one galactose sugar molecule. Once lactose is split, our bodies readily metabolize the glucose and galactose products.

Lactase is used in the production of lactose-reduced milk for people who are intolerant of lactose. The enzyme is also used to make a special low-lactose milk for domestic cats for similar reasons.

Lactase Deficiency

Only one-third of all people retain the ability to digest lactose into adulthood. Most individuals of Asian, African, and Native American descent are lactose intolerant. In addition, half of Hispanics and about 20 percent of Caucasians do not produce lactase as adults.

Persons with a deficiency of lactase in the gut can develop abdominal cramping and diarrhea after ingesting milk products.

Storage of Lactase

When stored at 5 °C, Lactozym maintains its declared activity. Please note that the colour of Lactozym may vary from batch-to-batch and colour intensity is not an indication of product strength.


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