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New filtration equipment for Interreg project ‘Whey Valorization’

Interreg EST/LAT project “Whey Valorization” is underway at TFTAK and our Latvian partner company Smiltenes Piens.

The lead partner of the project is Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK). Smiltenes Piens (SP) is the third largest cheese producer in Latvia in terms of volume and the sixth largest ni terms of milk processing company. The company cooperates with more than 150 suppliers of high-quality Latvian milk, and exports to Russia, Estonia, Germany, Israel and USA. With traditions and skills that have been developed and improved for more than a century, the company has become one of the leaders of the milk processing industry in Latvia. The brand “Smiltenes piens” is recognized and appreciated both by people in Latvia and by gourmands abroad.

Whey (derived from cheese and casein production) is one of the most suitable by-products for food production. Almost without exception, whey-processing technologies result in a waste by-product; usually a lactose and mineral-rich permeate in large volumes. Science and technology advances, particularly over the past 10 years, have led to a greater understanding of lactose behaviour, simple and efficient approaches to its hydrolysis or its isolation at commercial-scale, and improved overall cost effectiveness in the processing of whey solids. No whey utilisation strategy will succeed without suitable attention being paid to lactose, as this component represents >75% of whey solids (Smithers, 2008).

The objective of the project is the development of the production technology of syrup from lactose solution separated from whey. To perform the objective of the project a hydrolyzation of lactose into galactose and glucose syrup can be used. This product will be applied for production of various baked and confectionery goods as well be used for soft drinks production. The enzymatic hydrolysis of lactose is technologically important and applies to milk and dairy products, as well as to whey and whey permeate.

New filtration equipment

TFTAK has set up a modern filtration equipment system for the project.

Different types of membranes are used in the industry for various purposes like extending the shelf life of milk without exposure to heat treatment, standardization of the major components of milk for tailoring new products as well increasing yield and quality of the dairy products, and concentrating, fractionation and purification of milk components, especially valuable milk proteins in their natural state.

Instead of milk there can be a protein solution or whey for example. Primarily the equipment is needed for purification of the solution from undesired components – e.g. from milk bacteria and fat is separated by microfiltration, pure water is separated by reverse osmosis, lactose is separated by nanofiltration and whey proteins and casein is separated by ultrafiltration.


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