Dairy Permeates


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‘Dairy permeates – a strategic review of opportunities and applications’ (September 2007)

Report #3 in’s ‘Target business opportunities’ series of publications

A groundbreaking report on dairy permeates reveals that not only is dairy permeate volume growing, but that conventional wisdom on disposal and utilization must be overcome if a more complete use and exploitation of this resource is to be addressed. The very fundamental of this is to develop a new recognition of dairy permeates as a rich source of carbohydrate – such carbohydrate can, in its own right, provide current growth and yet further emerging strategic value-added commercial opportunities for the dairy industry.

The report is the third is a series of publications produced by entitled ‘Target business opportunities’. It provides a solid overview of the nature and characteristics of dairy permeate utilisation arising from two key features:

  • Developments in technology that are providing new and more commercial options for dairy permeate handling and processing
  • Growing demand for a range of non-traditional value-added products in a wide sphere of industry sectors, including: food, feed, pharmaceutical, medical, cosmeceutical and technical applications

A conventional view of dairy permeates recognizes it as a material that arises from the manufacture of whey protein concentrates (and growth in supply of this material has been spectacular over recent times). The more latter advent of large scale milk protein concentrate manufacture has been accompanied by the concomitant expansion in volume of dairy permeates available from another process stream. However there are two fundamental issues, based on the understanding that dairy permeates have a high lactose content – at around the same concentration (4.8%) as in the water phase of the original milk. Firstly the high BOD content of permeate, and secondly the highly hygroscopic nature of permeate – both adding to disposal and utilizaation issues in terms of traditional practise.

What is needed is a change of perception – from a view of permeate as waste to one where it is seen as a rich source of carbohydrates that have utilization potential in terms of:

  1. Evaporation & crystallization of the lactose to produce food and feed products
  2. Converting the lactose to high value-added material by hydrolysis, ion exchange etc
  3. Using fermentation technologies to convert lactose into marketable product
  4. Improving drying practices that deal with the hygroscopicity issue and present a more marketable product

Click here for full details of the report.