Submitted to: Whey Processing, Functionality and Health Benefits
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 20, 2007
Publication Date: July 28, 2008
Citation: Bonnaillie, L., Tomasula, P.M. 2008. Whey protein fractionation. In: Onwulata, C.I., Huth, P.J., editors. Whey Processing, Functionality and Health Benefits. Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishing and IFT Press. p. 15-37.
Concentrated whey protein products from cheese whey, such as whey protein concentrate (WPC) and whey protein isolate (WPI), contain more than seven different types of proteins: alpha-lactalbumin (alpha-LA), beta-lactoglobulin (beta-LG), bovine serum albumin (BSA), immunoglobulins (Igs), lactoferrin (LF), lactoperoxidase (LP), glycomacropeptides (GMP), and the low molecular-weight products of casein degradation.
Each of the whey proteins possesses different chemical, physical, functional, nutritional and biological properties which could potentially be exploited in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. This book chapter presents a review of the diverse whey protein fractionation technologies that have been designed to date to isolate the individual proteins of whey or produce enriched fractions of the proteins. In particular, a consequent body of work exists concerning the production of enriched fractions of alpha-LA and beta-LG from whey, WPC and WPI.
The techniques utilized to fractionate the whey proteins exploit the differences in size, denaturation, and aggregation behavior of the proteins. Most of the methods reviewed were designed to operate at the laboratory scale only, and much research is needed to design economic, efficient, large-scale technologies that can recover purified fractions of all the individual whey proteins. ARS’ supercritical CO2 fractionation technology is one of the methods proposed for the recovery of large-scale whey protein fractions enriched with both alpha-LA and beta-LG from either WPC or WPI.