Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are as old as humankind. However, it wasn’t until late in the 19th century that scientists discovered that human breast milk contains a high amount of these unique carbohydrates. We are only now starting to understand how this diverse, complex plethora of HMOs plays an essential role in determining the health of humans, especially during the first phases of life.

Among the multiple functions of HMOs that have been described, immune modulation is probably the most inspiring one. HMOs interfere directly and indirectly with the gut epithelium – for example, by promoting the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria, thereby building a defence against infectious diseases. However, new emerging research has also reported the ability of HMOs to enhance cognition via the gut-brain axis, reducing the risk of atopic dermatitis and promoting bone health. It is no wonder that the interest in HMOs is exponentially increasing, not only in relation to enriching baby foods but also as preventive or curative means for adults or elderly.

The market for HMOs is forecasted to explode within the next decade and so it is critical for the industry to support this demand by providing access to an ample supply of a diverse range of different HMOs at the lowest possible cost. Inbiose has developed a unique, proprietary technology enabling large-scale production of the main HMOs as reflected in human milk, with the aim of making them available for nutrition and health, personal care and consumer health foods and dietary supplements.


Inbiose emphasises that breastfeeding is best for babies. In cases where this is not possible, Inbiose supports the industry in its search towards developing the best possible alternative infant formula.