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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB

10 6 ENHANCED PROTEIN FRACTIONATION FOR USE IN FOOD APPLICATIONS Ana Lucía Vásquez Caicedo, Carsten Pietzka, Fabiola Salguero del Valle, Salima Varona Iglesias Food protein market trends Consumers’ awareness of health and wellness issues is increasing, thus driving market growth of food protein ingre- dients worldwide. Accordingly, whey proteins have attracted major attention for applications in infant formula, sports and clinical nutrition due to their health and nutritional benefits Moreover, whey protein fractions have the potential to replace chemical additives in formulations due to their extraordinary technofunctional properties, including foaming, emulsifying, gelling and their water-binding potential. Whey is obtained in large quantities as a by-product in cheese manufacturing and is therefore available at low raw material costs. In Europe, only 10 percent of liquid whey is currently trans- formed into food and human nutrition products. 60 percent of the whey produced is disposed of in municipal sewage systems, creating serious environmental problems. The main reason is the limited technological ability of dairies, specifically SMEs, to use this valuable resource appropriately. Technological challenges Current technologies for protein fractionation and concentra- tion are still laborious and require several processing steps, the use of chemicals, large amounts of eluents or buffers or need huge cleaning efforts due to membrane fouling and have high membrane replacement costs e g ultrafiltration In addition, acids, alkalis and high temperatures are often needed to achieve separation, causing protein denaturation and diminishing product quality. In general, these technolo- gies are difficult to up-scale and are associated with additional environmental problems due to disposal of chemicals and the large amounts of wastewater generated. An economic and sustainable solution for the valorization of whey is therefore urgently needed. Electro-membrane filtration The hey ood pro ect aims to develop a highly efficient, se- lective, gentle and economically attractive electro-membrane filtration M technology to enhance separation and con- centration of proteins and peptides from whey. This technique combines an electric field with mechanical membrane filtra- tion. The driving gradient for the material transport across the membrane can be generated both by the transmembrane pressure and the electric field applied This enables the sepa- ration both on the basis of the electric charge and the particle size (Fig. 1). Fraction purity and economic yields are increased due to the ability of M to increase the filtration flow rate and minimize membrane fouling, cleaning efforts and mem- brane replacement costs. Transfer to an industrial scale During this project, enriched whey protein fractions are obtained by selecting appropriate electrode material and cell configuration parameters, including placement of filtration membranes and electrode shielding membranes, electric field strength, p , fluid temperature, fluid pressure gradient and membrane cut off (pore size). The aim is to obtain a full understanding of the EMF process and its interferences with whey and the compounds contained in it; also, to create a knowledge base that supports the development of an optimal system configuration at laboratory level and enables the scale- up of the process into a demonstration prototype suitable for use in an industrial relevant environment. 1 CHEMISTRY retentate + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – cathode permeate OH– OH– H+ H+ anode UF or MF membrane 106