Sensus presently offers Frutafit and Frutalose inulin, derived from chicory root, to the adult health and functional food market, where the ingredients have previously been shown to improve the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
So-called 'friendly bacteria' have been linked to improved overall health and gut health, and probiotics, which deliver these bacteria directly, have proved a growth market in Europe and, to a lesser extent the US, in the last five years.
A spokesperson for the Dutch company confirmed that it is seeking to move into the infant nutrition market as it has identified potential in the area of prebiotics.
The new study was conduced by the Korean Food and Nutrition Foundation with Sensus and is slated for publication in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition at the beginning of next year.
Although the company is trailing the results, the full set and complete methodology is not yet available and has not been seen by NutraIngredients.com.
Sensus said that 14 formula-fed babies with an average age of 12.6 weeks were given divided into two groups, one of which received a daily dose of 0.25g of Frutafit inulin per kilo of body weight for three weeks and the other of which did not.
This was followed by a second three-week period, where the group that previously received nothing was given the inulin, and the other was not.
The inulin was seen to increase the content of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus in the babies' faeces, the amount of faeces increased and it was softer in consistency.
"This proves that, with native [pure form] inulin, a probiotic effect can be observed in formula-fed babies. Inulin may therefore be a useful ingredient in infant formula formulation," said the company.
The spokesperson said that it was already clear breast-fed babies benefited from the presence of prebiotics in human milk - and now it has been seen to be effective in formula-fed babies too.
"Infant nutrition is an interesting area for the food industry, as mothers who cannot breast feed their babies, whether for time or other reasons, want to ensure their offspring still receive the nutrients they need," she said, adding that there is a trend towards replicating the nutrient profile of human milk as much as possible in formulas.