MD Foods (which is now merged with Danish giant Arla Foods) has received US Patent No. 6,432,464 for the use of tagatose in synergistic combination with high intensity sweeteners.

At the same time, Arla also announced receipt of a Notice of Acceptance on an Australian patent application covering prebiotic effects of tagatose.

The company says that the synergy of tagatose markedly improves the taste and mouthfeel of soft drinks, and eliminates the unpleasant aftertaste associated with high intensity sweeteners. It opens the soft drink market to tagatose.

The prebiotic effect allows claims that tagatose in foods, dietary health supplements, nutrition bars and other health-promoting food products improves digestion. It also promotes a healthier bacterial composition in the colon.