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Leveraging endogenous barley enzymes to turn lactose-containing dairy by-products into fermentable adjuncts for Saccharomyces cerevisiae-based ethanol fermentations

Lawton, M.R., Alcaine, S.D.
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.3 pp. 2044-2050
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, barley, beers, brewers yeast, byproducts, dairy industry, enzymes, ethanol, fermentation, galactose, glucose, hydrolysis, lactose, liquids, mash, value-added products, whey, yogurt
Acid whey, a by-product of strained yogurt production, represents a disposal challenge for the dairy industry. Utilization schemes are currently limited; however, acid whey contains valuable components that could be used to create value-added products. One potential scheme would be the fermentation of acid whey into an alcoholic beverage. Sour beers are gaining popularity and acid whey, which is sour to begin with, could provide a new product opportunity. However, the main sugar of acid whey, lactose, cannot be fermented by the traditional brewer's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It has been reported that barley contains enzymes capable of hydrolyzing lactose to glucose and galactose, which are fermentable by S. cerevisiae. We investigated whether a barley-based mash resulted in detectable hydrolysis of lactose into sugars fermentable by S. cerevisiae. We demonstrated the ability to hydrolyze lactose in acid whey using a barley-based mash, resulting in the average release of 3.70 g/L of glucose. Additionally, the subsequent liquid was fermented by S. cerevisiae to an average ethanol concentration of 3.23% alcohol by volume. This work demonstrates the ability to hydrolyze the lactose in acid whey using barley and the opportunity to use acid whey as a fermentable sugar source in beer production.