Due to the ability to selectively separate and focus on the bioactive components of milk, milk microfiltration has gained much attention in the dairy industry. A study conducted by a research team at IIT Roorkee demonstrated the one-step separation of fat globules based on size from bovine milk using a cross-flow microfiltration.
According to a press release by IIT Roorkee, the first author of the research, PhD student Ayushi Kapoor, was granted the International Travel Award by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. Her research paper has been selected for oral presentation at the upcoming Annual Conference of the Membrane Society Australasia conference in Perth, Australia in December. The study was recently published in the Separation and Purification Technology journal, and the institute has filed a complete Indian patent for the process.
Further application of milk microfiltration can be seen in food fortification. One such compound is the milk fat globules, a bioactive component that has potential health benefits, which undergo structural and functional damage, membrane phospholipids loss, experience longer processing time, and higher recovery cost due to its current multi-step separation process. The research team developed a one-step process to segregate the smaller milk fat globules from bovine milk with respect to their size, thus preserving their structural and nutritional qualities, mentioned the media release by IIT Roorkee.
“Our study has developed a one-step process which not only operates efficiently at lower pressure but also successfully preserves the structure of separated fat globules. The current milk fat globule separation techniques involve 4-5 steps which makes it a more time-consuming and costly process. Also, the excess processing steps damage the milk fat globules leading to the reduction in their nutritional properties. Whereas, the process that we have developed directly separates from raw milk, without applying any pre-processing, thus saving time, energy and money, when implemented at the industrial level,” said Ayushi Kapoor, PhD student at IIT Roorkee, who is also the first author of the research.
According to IIT Roorkee, this research will save time, energy and resources. It will also make sure that it is fit to be consumed by people of all age groups. Other purposes of this research could be seen in the utilisation of the isolated fat globules to make food ingredients like infant formula or even serve as raw materials for many high-value products in the food and pharmaceutical industries.