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Cheese whey tangential filtration using tubular mineral membranes

Andrea Hinkova, Zdenek Bubnik, Svatopluk Henke, Vladimir Pour, Petra Zidova, Evzen Sarka, Nazih Hassan, and Pavel Kadlec

Department of Carbohydrates and Cereals, University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, Technicka 5, 166 28 Prague 6, Czech Republic



Abstract: Membrane separation techniques are extensively used in dairy industry both for milk and cheese whey processing. However, cheese whey might still be considered as a problematic waste despite its high content of many valuable substances, such as proteins, lactose or minerals, which can be further used, e.g. in human nutrition, pharmacy or biotechnologies. Another problem, which food technologists have to face, is variable quality, composition and properties of food materials bringing high demands on manufacturing industry. In this paper, filtration kinetics and separation efficiency during purification and fractionation of cheese whey (sweet and salty) from Czech dairies by pilot-plant filtration (Bollene, France) was studied using tubular membranes (Membralox, USA). Various mineral membranes’ cut-offs were tested and all experiments ran in the retentate recycling mode. The obtained mass concentration factors were between 1.9 and 16.5. Steady state fluxes were calculated from the experimental data using a mathematical model. Fine ultrafiltration on a 5 kDa membrane gave steady state fluxes of 14-19 L m-2 h-1. The coarse pre-filtration on 100 nm, 200 nm or 500 nm membranes showed various permeate fluxes between 22 L m-2 h-1 and 153 L m-2 h-1. Despite the high pore sizes of the used membranes, lactose was partially rejected by all membranes tested.

Keywords: microfiltration – ultrafiltration – nanofiltration – inorganic membranes – proteins – lactose

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1515/chempap-2015-0191


Chemical Papers 70 (3) 325–332 (2016)

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