SURFMILK – Effect of Membrane surface properties on fractionation of milk casein concentrates and their functionality

There has been an increased interest in the development of casein enriched ingredients using membrane filtration. This gentle technology produces micellar casein isolates (MCIs) and provides new opportunities to add value to milk. A significant amount of research has been done on membrane filtration of milk at the laboratory scale, but there is a need to develop a better knowledge of industrial settings.  SURFMILK’s overall goals are to better understand how processing changes the membrane surface during milk fractionation and how it affects the MCI processing functionality as well as the fractionation of specific components, and to link laboratory findings with industrial relevant conditions.

By: Grith Mortensen

In the past few years, micellar casein isolates (MCI) have emerged as a novel value-added ingredient, which was developed as a side stream in the manufacture of native whey protein. It was soon realized that very little differences in the processing conditions during membrane filtration influences the MCI’s technological performance, even when composition of the final materials is comparable. A better understanding of how the processing conditions can affect the structure of the casein micelles is therefore critical.

This project will focus on a fundamental research question: is the composition, structure and technological functionality of the casein micelles in MCIs affected by membrane fouling/caking and by the type of diafiltration medium used? This research question will be investigated under different settings such as feed, processing parameters and membranes in both pilot scale and commercial production. The collaboration, in this project, is a unique opportunity to combine industrial knowledge with the most advanced research in the area of structure function of casein micelles, and support the development of high-quality, high-value MCIs.

Project period: May 2022 - May 2025

Budget: 5,711,018 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund, in-kind from Arla Foods Ingredients

Project manager: Milena Corredig

Institution: Department of Food Science, Aarhus University

Participants: Arla Foods Ingredients


The results originating from the project will be published on this page when they become publicly available.

Grith Mælk 1

Grith Mortensen

Chefkonsulent, Branchesekretariat mejeri, Landbrug & Fødevarer/Skejby

Mobil: 40964114