Lipases in Milk

  • T. Olivecrona
  • S. Vilaró
  • G. Olivecrona


Two indigenous lipases have been found in milk, one of which is also present in pancreatic juice. The latter enzyme is called ‘cholesteryl ester hydrolase’ or ‘non-specific lipase’, reflecting its broad substrate specificity, but in milk, the enzyme is called ‘bile salt stimulated (or activated) lipase’ BSSL or BAL, because it displays no activity unless bile salts are present. Hence, it is a pro-enzyme that becomes active when the milk reaches the intestine. In human milk, BSSL makes up about 1% of the protein and appears to substantially improve the utilization of milk lipids, particularly in premature infants. Efforts are under way to produce this enzyme biotechnologically and market it as a supplement to infant formulae. This enzyme is present in milk from many mammals, but not in the domesticated milk-producing animals. Since milk from these species is the focus for the present volume, we will not review the interesting biochemical and physiological properties of BSSL here. The reader is referred to recent papers on its structure (Chen et al., 1998) and on its importance for growth and development of human infants (Hernell et al., 1997).


Mammary Gland Lipoprotein Lipase Pancreatic Lipase Bovine Milk Hepatic Lipase 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Olivecrona
  • S. Vilaró
  • G. Olivecrona

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