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Whey valorisation: A complete and novel technology development for dairy industry starter culture production

Koutinas, Athanasios A., Papapostolou, Harris, Dimitrellou, Dimitra, Kopsahelis, Nikolaos, Katechaki, Eleftheria, Bekatorou, Argyro, Bosnea, Loulouda A.
Bioresource technology 2009 v.100 no.15 pp. 3734-3739
starter cultures, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Kluyveromyces marxianus, food processing wastes, cheese ripening, raw materials, whey, heat treatment, biomass, dairy industry
Whey is the major by-product of the dairy industry, produced in large quantities and usually disposed off causing major environmental pollution, due to its high organic load that makes treatment cost prohibitive. This paper comprises a contribution on the valorisation of this high polluting liquid waste of the dairy industry, based on research for the production of novel dairy starter cultures using whey as raw material. Starter cultures are used for cheese ripening in order to: (i) accelerate ripening, (ii) improve quality and (iii) increase shelf-life. The developed technology involves biomass production from whey followed by thermal drying of cultures. Specifically, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and kefir yeasts were thermally dried, and their efficiency in lactose and milk whey fermentations was studied. The most suitable culture regarding its technological properties was kefir, which was used for cheese ripening in freeze-dried and thermally dried form. Besides the reduction of production cost, which is an essential requirement for the food industry, the use of thermally dried kefir displayed several other advantages such as acceleration of ripening, increase of shelf-life, and improvement of hard-type cheese quality.