Commercially available, wide-pore ultrafiltration membranes were evaluated for production of α-lactalbumin (α-LA)-enriched whey protein concentrate (WPC). In this study microfiltration was used to produce a prepurified feed that was devoid of casein fines, lipid materials, and aggregated proteins. This prepurified feed was subsequently subjected to a wide-pore ultrafiltration process that produced an α-LA-enriched fraction in the permeate. We evaluated the performance of 3 membrane types and a range of transmembrane pressures. We determined that the optimal process used a polyvinylidene fluoride membrane (molecular weight cut-off of 50kDa) operated at transmembrane pressure (TMP) of 207kPa. This membrane type and operating pressure resulted in α-LA purity of 0.63, α-LA:β-LG ratio of 1.41, α-LA yield of 21.27%, and overall flux of 49.46L/m 2·h. The manufacturing cost of the process for a hypothetical plant indicated that α-LA-enriched WPC 80 (i.e., with 80% protein) could be produced at $17.92/kg when the price of whey was considered as an input cost. This price came down to $16.46/kg when the price of whey was not considered as an input cost. The results of this study indicate that production of a commercially viable α-LA-enriched WPC is possible and the process developed can be used to meet worldwide demand for α-LA-enriched whey protein.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by Dairy Management Inc. (Rosemont, IL) as administered by Dairy Research Institute (Chicago, IL), and Agricultural Experiment Station, South Dakota State University (Brookings) for carrying out this project. We also acknowledge the supply of GMP standard by Davisco Foods International Inc. (Le Sueur, MN).
- Cheese whey
- Membrane separation
- Whey protein concentrate