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The use of membrane processing techniques in dairy industry
According to Morr and Ha, (1993), development of off-flavor in whey products because
of the impure lipids that cause rancidity remains an aspect of major concern. Several studies
suggest that getting rid of residual fats from the whey by using thermocalcic precipitation under
which there is the aggregation of phospholipids by the calcium under some heat treatments for
eight minutes at fifty degrees Celsius followed by the removal of precipitates by microfiltration
and ultrafiltration. Advances in microfiltration make it easier for the direct removal of the
lipoproteins through separating trans-membrane pressure from the inlet pressure that limits the
fouling. With the utilization of membrane technology, there is the possibility of the concentrate
and the separate whey proteins in undenatured form with higher functional property in the native
whey as compared to the convectional sweet cheese whey. The native whey protein concentrates
as well as the native whey protein isolates are formed by the Ultrafiltration that concentrates
native whey (Maubois et al., 2001). It shows an excellent foaming, gelling and reconstituability
on the doting. At the present, there is the utilization of the native whey proteins to a great extent
in the human nutrition like an integral component of the weight balancing products and also in
the baby foods because of their lower risks of hyperthyroxinemia due to an absence of the
glycomacropeptides that in turn are rich in threonine. There may be the concentration of
individual whey protein or fractioned through the application of membrane technology. It
facilitates the production of whey protein concentrates with an enrichment of particular proteins
or even with the single proteins. There is a difference in the composition of whey proteins from
that of the membrane permeates obtained during the concentration of casein. Moreover, Doyen et
al., in 1996 indicated that the major concern during the preparation of whey protein concentrate
is the fouling as the membranes that have different permeability have some comparable flux
because of the pressure independent flux regime. The process of a typical whey micro-filtration
might run in the long cycles of around 24 hours that offer the great potential of the formation of
bacterial biofilms that leads to the reduced performances of the membrane.
The application of the membranes in the cheese production
The Microfiltration casein concentrated milk is highly suitable for the numerous
preparations of cheese because of its superior microbial quality that is achieved after the removal
of spores and bacteria from the milk and the optimization of various major components of the
milk. The microfiltration pre-treatment of the cheese milk improves that firmness of curd as well
as accelerating the process of ripening and reducing the amount of the additives like calcium
chloride. It also facilitates the heating at higher temperatures. The UHT milk requires higher
amounts of rennet to coagulate. Through the application of ultrafiltration, the UHT milk becomes
coagulated with the lesser amounts of the rennet through compensating hindrance to coagulation
that arises from the formation of complexes between casein and lactoglobulin through the
reduction of the zeta potential of casein micelle. There are future possibilities of standardization
of protein in the cheese milk and the fortification with the casein micelle powder. Microfiltration
followed by high-temperature treatment is the more efficient than the single stage bactofugation
regarding the microbial quality. However, the treatment of microfiltration followed by the hightemperature treatment modifies the rennet coagulation as well as increasing the holding capacity
of water and necessitating for the adjustments in parameters during the preparation of cheese.
The ultrafiltration technique in making of cheese is greatly remunerative through
concentrating the milk by a factor of 1.2 to 2.0 times as well as the increase in casein that leads
to fewer requirements of the equipment for processing, quality control, better composition and
improving the cheese yields. Through the application of this technology, there has been reported
a great saving of skim milk as compared to the use of the traditional process. Through removing
water during milk concentration by applying membrane filtration technology, there is the
possibility of making cheese without the whey and therefore, there is no need of using the cheese
vat and avoidance of cumbersome steps of processing for the removal as well as draining of
whey. However, there are some individuals who reported negative impact of ripening of hard and
semi-hard cheese due to the increased content of whey in the preparation of cheese through the
concentrated milk. Through the application of ultrafiltration, there is an acquisition of quality
fresh and the brine cheese with greater yields. There are others that reported that the utilization
of ultrafiltration do not give good results in the making of fresh cheese from the acidified curd
since it is difficult for an individual to process the high acidic milk through the use of traditional
membranes. Increasing the value of the pH from 4.4 to about 4.6 during the production of better
and quality fresh cheese may facilitate the production of cheese that are of better quality. Basing
on the factors of concentration and the increased protein content, there are various types of the
retentate that is obtained after the application of ultrafiltration technique. There are also low
concentrated retentate, intermediate or even medium concentrated retentate that is obtained as
well as liquid pre-cheese obtained before the acquisition of the real cheese. The ultrafiltration of
the milk is done to save the costs during preparation of hard and semi-hard cheese through
increasing the concentration of whey protein and salt. However, it may cause the compromised
sensory as well as the functional properties (Mistry and Maubois, 1993). It also has the slower
rate of ripening because of decreased proteolysis that is caused by the reduction of rennin action
and chymosin and presence of the extra whey protein within the milk substance. Due to the
reduction in these properties, the process experiences a decreased proteolysis.
Application of membrane technology in the processing of milk protein
The milk proteins specifically caseins play an essential role in the appearance of white
turbid and the milk viscosity. Through the application of ultrafiltration, the level of the content of
protein in the milk become adjusted without the addition of any extraneous sources of protein
through the removal of water. It causes the maintenance of nutritive value, composition, physicchemical properties and the sensory attributes of milk irrespective of the variation caused by
genetic and environmental factors, (Puhan, 1992). The addition of one percent of the ultrafiltered protein-enriched milk in the skim milk improves the sensory attributes and viscosity that
are similar to the full cream milk. Milk protein concentrates that contains fifty to fifty-eight
percent proteins of the good functionality have been prepared through the application of
ultrafiltration, microfiltration and the diafiltration techniques either alone or even in
The fractionalization of the milk protein
The separation of various components of the milk that are of different sizes from the milk
through the application of membrane technology will definitely transform the dairy industry into
profitable and efficient enterprises. The phenomena of concentration polarization, homogeneity
of membrane pore sizes and the membranes fouling are the major factors that determine
fractionalization of the components of milk. The concentrates of milk protein and milk
concentrates are increasingly and mostly prepared by the utilization of MF technology, (Novak,
1992). The heat stability, composition, textural properties and heat stability of the products
depend on the type of the membrane that is utilized and the prevailing conditions of the
processing like pH, temperature, and even the period of processing. The judicious utilization of
these factors must be selected based on the ultimate utilization of milk protein concentrate and
the milk protein. There is also a suggestion that the process of ultrafiltration at fifty to sixty
degrees Celsius with the increased rate of flowing to minimize the denaturing of whey protein is
essential for the attainment of the desired rheological properties.
There are numerous activities undertaken to recover the valuable and proteinaceous
components from waste streams of the dairy products. The dairy products are most valuable
commodities and are utilized as high-value food additives therapeutics and nutriceuticals. There
may be the removal of the milk protein through the use of Nano filtration, microfiltration and
even ultrafiltration techniques. The MF of the milk separates the whey proteins from casein
micelle. The numerous milk proteins like serum and casein or even the whey proteins might be
separated in the simplest and economic method through the application of membrane filters of
pore sizes of very small sizes at the constant temperature without necessarily the need of
applying the chemicals and heat in the process.
Moreover, the membrane technology revolutionized the casein processing. The
application of different types of membranes that have the desired pore sizes either alone or even
in combination with the enzymatic action fractionalization, chromatography lead to
concentration and purification of the milk proteins. The physic-chemical compositions of casein
in association with the membranes greatly depend on the ionic strength and the temperature.
Within the suitable ionic strength, there is the possibility of fractionating and concentrate casein
at five degrees skim milk at about four degrees Celsius. There may be a concentration of the
native casein in retentate through passing skim milk into microfiltration with the pore size of
very small diameter. The concentrated casein and even the native casein micelles might be
produced through the ceraflow, ceramic and membralox membrane that have different flux.
There might be a recording of the significant improvement in the flux with 65 kPa transmembrane pressure that has the flow velocity of 12.5 meters per second.
According to Papadatos, (2003), although there is a great profit obtained from the
production of mozzarella and cheddar cheese through microfiltration milk in the North American
parts, there was a change in the profits as the level of concentration of casein increased from two
to three times. Fouling is the greatest concern during the concentration of casein milk as
compared to selectivity because some of the whey proteins are in the casein and the vice versa
thereby affecting the yielding of cheese and the whey concentrates. The utilization of the
membrane process being accompanied by other advanced technologies like the liquid
chromatography leads to the purification of casein that is derived bioactive peptides that show
the cardiovascular, morphine-mimicking and immunostimulating activities.
The fractionalization of whey proteins
The whey proteins are acquired through the purification and concentration from whey.
There might be a separation of whey protein from the skimmed milk through the polymeric
microfiltration in the permeate flux. The form of the mass flux of the permeated whey protein
with permeates flux mostly determines the concentration of whey product and the
fractionalization. From the advancement of the new technology, there is the possibility of
recovering the growth factor from the whey and its products. There are several attempts made to
tap the developing markets of the healthy foods through the separation of immunoglobulin and
the growth factors from the colostrum through the application of the ultrafiltration and
microfiltration accompanied by the favorable modifications (Regester et al., 1987). With an
introduction of inorganic membranes and polyvinyl imidazole derivate, a pure lactalbumin may
be acquired in the filtrate. However, fouling is the major constraints for the achievement of this
result. In addition, there may be the separation of whey proteins from the whey products
insulates through the application of either diafiltration or ultrafiltration with greater than 99%
purity. The utilization of the hydrophilic cellulose membrane made it possible for the separation
of compounds of low molecular weights from those of the high molecular compounds.
The application of the technology in processing of milk fat
Conventionally, there is the separation of cream from the whole milk through the energyintensive centrifugation where the lighter fat globules move at the center while the heavy skim
milk moves at the periphery under centrifugal force. The separation of the cream might also be
possible through the energy saving membranes techniques that produce skim milk that has an
excellent and also the improved sensory attributes of the cream with no damage caused to the fat
globular membranes. However, the size of the globules of the fat possesses some profound
impact in sensory and textural attributes as cream with the small fat globules and the improved
flavor as compared to the cream that has big fat globules.
The role of the membrane process technology in demineralization or desalting
According to Kelly et al., (1991), the removal of the minerals from the whey has an
impact of increasing its value. Cheese whey is rich in not only the salt but also acids and there is
the essence of demineralization or reduction of whey before using it. It is also demineralized to
alleviate the environmental hazards. Demineralization may be done through electro dialysis and
the process of ion exchange in the dairy industry to obtain up to sixty percent reduction of the
minerals. The efficiency of electro dialysis may be increased through pre-concentrating the
matter up to twenty percent dry matter by evaporation. There may be demineralization of whey
by ion exchange while desalting of the same product may be carried out by passing it over the
column of ion exchange and the rate of removing the ion depends on resin utilized in column and
the types of ions utilized. The requirement for a lot of water and chemical to generate resin is the
greatest limitation of the above technology.
The Nano filtration membranes that have the molecular weight cutoff that ranges between
200 and 1000 Daltons are the ones that are best suited for demineralization of the whey since
these membranes are semi-permeable or permeable to the salts and the monovalent ions.
However, they are impermeable to the organic compounds. Under some prevailing acidic
conditions, the carboxyl group of the organic substances are bound to the above membranes. The
technique demineralizes the whey simultaneously at the moment that they are concentrating and
this helps in saving the cost and disposal of water and time. Nano filtration is highly economical
as compared to electro dialysis and as the method of the choice for partially desalting of the
whey. The Nano filtration membranes are greatly permeable to the water and the monovalent
ions. There is a reduction of the mineral content of whey by around 35% and the content of ash
reduced by three to four times as an addition to the increase in the concentration of the whey
through the application of Nano filtration technique. The reduction of this whey by this
percentage makes it suitable for the people that are suffering from the cardiovascular infections.
The content of the mineral of whey gets reduced further by 45% through the application of DF.
The reduction of the content of the mineral in the whey, brines and liquor on the industrial scale
might be done mainly through the Nano filtration technique. The DF might also cause the
removal of the ions from the whey to a large extent.
The other applications of this membrane processing technique are that using different
membranes while accompanied by the appropriate heat treatments lead to a development of
numerous dairy products that have the unique characteristics like better compositional control,
texture, bidding and also juiciness. Through the assistance of membrane technology, there is an
introduction of numerous novel products in the market like milk free from lactose made available
to the intolerant individuals, milk that has low calcium, whey based beverages, high protein low
lactose ice creams and protein fortified low-fat milk.
The application of membrane processing technique in the dairy science and industry
witnessed the phenomena of mutual benefits for the dairy industries and the membranes. There
were marked improvements in the quality of nutrition and the sensory attributes of those existing
dairy products with greater yields. In addition, there was a development of numerous innovative
dairy products that became possible due to the application of the membrane processing
technique. The continuation of efforts of development of the superior membranes will expand the
role played by membranes processing technique even further.
Fritsch J, Moraru CI. Development and optimization of a carbon dioxide-aided cold
microfiltration process for the physical removal of microorganisms and somatic cells
from skim milk. J Dairy Sci. 2008;91:37443760.
Kelly PM, Horton BS, Burling H. New applications of membrane processes. IDF Bulletin
9201.Brussels, Belgium: 1991. Partial demineralization of whey by Nano filtration; pp.
Kumar CG, Anand SK. Significance of microbial biofilms in food industry: a review. Int J Food
Lipnizki F. Cross-flow membrane applications in the food industry. In: Peinemann Klaus-Viktor,
Nunes Suzana Pereira, Giorno Lidietta., editors. Membrane Technology, Vol. 3:
Membranes for Food Applications. WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co. KGaA;
Maubois JL, Fauquant J, Famelart MH, Caussin F. Milk microfiltrate a convenient starting
material for fractionation of whey proteins and derivatives. Proc. 3rd Int Whey Conf. The
importance of whey and whey components in food and nutrition; München. Germany.
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Morr CV, Ha EYW. Whey protein concentratesand isolates: processing and functional
properties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1993;33:431476.
Novak A. New applications of membrane processes. Brussels, Belgium: 1992. pp. 5166. IDF
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Olesen N, Jensen F. Microfiltration. The influence of operating parameters on the
process. Milchwissenschaft. 1989;44:476479.
Papadatos A, Neocleous M, Berger AM, Barbano DM. Economic feasibility evaluation of
microfiltration of milk prior to cheesemaking. J Dairy Sci. 2003;86:15641577.
Puhan Z. New applications of membrane processes. Brussels, Belgium: 1992. pp. 2332. IDF
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Regester GO, Belford DA, West RJ, Goddard C. Development of minor dairy components as
therapeutic agents-Whey growth factor extract, a case study. Aust J Dairy
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