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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2014, Article ID 768406, 10 pages
Research Article

Determination of β-Galactooligosaccharides by Liquid Chromatography

1Nestlé Research Centre, 1000 Lausanne, Switzerland
2Novartis Consumer Health S.A., 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
3Nestlé Waters Supply Est-Vosges, Contrex Factory, 306 rue de Lorraine, 88140 Contrexeville, France

Received 27 September 2013; Accepted 22 January 2014; Published 26 February 2014

Academic Editor: Frantisek Foret

Copyright © 2014 Sean Austin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Beta-galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are oligosaccharides normally produced industrially by transgalactosylation of lactose. They are also present naturally in the milk of many animals including humans and cows. GOS are thought to be good for health, being potential prebiotic fibres, and are increasingly added to food products. In order to control the GOS content of products, the AOAC official method 2001.02 was developed. However, the method has some shortcomings and in particular is unsuited to the analysis of products containing high levels of lactose such as infant formula. To overcome this problem, we developed a new method for application to infant formula and tested it on various GOS ingredients as well as infant formulae. When applied to GOS ingredients the results of the new method compare well with those of the official AOAC method, typically giving results in the range 90–110% of those of the official method and having an expanded measurement uncertainty of less than 15%. For three products, the results were outside this range (recoveries of 80–120% and expended measurement uncertainties up to 20%). When applied to the analysis of infant formula, recoveries were in the range of 92–102% and the expanded measurement uncertainties were between 4.2 and 11%.