Whey Proteins: Bioengineering and Health
Whey, obtained mainly from cheese production, has been considered for a long time as a low added value byproduct. It is a highly polluting material with a biological oxygen demand (BOD) of 30,000 to 50,000 mg l−1, and it has been used as a low cost raw material for the production of several commodities (Marwaha and Kennedy, 1988; Garcia-Garibay et al., 1993). Whey production worldwide has for years represented a challenge to find interesting ways for its utilization. During the last 10 or 20 years, it has been difficult to economically dispose of whey, even in developed countries, due to the increase in cheese production and the installation of larger cheese factories. Although whey utilization has been the subject of much research, very few processes have led to economically attractive ways for its utilization. The most successful processes for its utilization are those that have led to the elaboration of products with a high added value. For instance, whey proteins have high nutritional value and very good functional properties, leading to the interest in developing ultrafiltration techniques in order to recover such proteins without losing their functional properties (Trejo-Vázquez et al., 1995).
The utilization of whey proteins as food ingredients in many products due to their unique nutritional and functional properties and, even more, due to their bioactive characteristics, has been the driving force for research on the development of new techniques for their concentration, recovery and fractionation.
In the present chapter, a review of the most important characteristics of whey proteins, together with the techniques for their separation, is presented. Table 31.1 shows some important biochemical characteristics of major or important whey proteins.
KeywordsWhey Protein Milk Protein Molecularly Imprint Polymer High Hydrostatic Pressure Bioactive Peptide
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