medical sciences

Pharmaceutical researchers help to find a new form for colostrum powder

Photo credit: Unsplash, Nikolai Chernichenko
Photo credit: Unsplash, Nikolai Chernichenko

Colostrum is an exceptionally useful basic product abundant in immune and growth factors. So far, bovine colostrum has been marketed in Estonia in the form of powder meant as a human food supplement and complementary feed for farm animals. Now, researchers of the University of Tartu Institute of Pharmacy are helping producers to develop colostrum-based pharmaceutical preparations.

Colostrum is the milk produced by the cow in the first five days after calving. It has a high dry-matter content and its ingredients give new-born calves passive immunity. As colostrum is very temperature-sensitive, it is not collected by the dairy industry and most often the surplus is disposed of.

For health products, however, colostrum is an important raw material. The company Teadus ja Tegu from Tartu has seized this largely unused economic resource. Väino Poikalainen and Lembit Lepasalu, the leaders of the company, have been valorising colostrum into different products for years. They have developed and implemented technology for collecting and storing colostrum and producing powdered colostrum products for both humans and livestock.

“Colostrum is high in immune factors that protect the body against pathogenic viruses and bacteria, and in growth factors that stimulate the growth of bones, muscles, nerves and tissues as well as balance the level of blood sugar,” said Poikalainen and Lepasalu to describe the benefits of colostrum. While so far, colostrum has been available for human use only as a powder, the company now wants to create pharmaceutical products and expand the range of health-promoting colostrum products.

To develop preparations that are evidence-based and meet pharmaceutical requirements, the company turned to the University of Tartu Institute of Pharmacy, as in addition to the special equipment, devices and tools, the development of such products also requires excellent pharmaceutical knowledge, skills and experience.

The head of the University of Tartu Institute of Pharmacy, Professor in Pharmacognosy Ain Raal admitted that the institute finds it exciting to produce pharmaceutical preparations from Estonian colostrum, especially considering the ultimate goal of bringing health-promoting colostrum powder tablets to the market. “In addition to the powder, we will also add other natural ingredients to the tablet. The skilful combination of ingredients ensures a more versatile effect and a better quality,” said Raal.

The production activities will involve researchers from the Institute of Pharmacy from the fields of pharmacognosy, pharmaceutical technology, pharmaceutical nanotechnology and pharmaceutical analysis. The development of the preparations will include experimental studies to determine the best combination of the main active substance(s) of the colostrum powder and the suitable natural additives, the establishment of a methodology for analysis, the selection of the pharmaceutically suitable delivery systems, assembly of the composition of the modern pharmaceutical forms, the development of prototypes and the study of their keeping quality.

Further information:
Ain Raal
Head of the University of Tartu Institute of Pharmacy, Professor in Pharmacognosy
502 7574

Väino Poikalainen and Lembit Lepasalu
Founders of Teadus ja Tegu OÜ
505 7038 /

Information sent by
Virge Ratasepp
Communication Specialist of the University of Tartu Faculty of Medicine
5815 5392

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