Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Research Project #441397

Research Project: Reclaiming Value from Coproducts of Dairy Food Manufacture

Location: Dairy and Functional Foods Research

Project Number: 8072-41000-114-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Nov 30, 2021
End Date: Sep 21, 2025

Objective 1: Use process simulation to develop cost-effective processes for valorization of waste dairy streams to reduce environmental impact and reuse water. Objective 2: Investigate technologies for large-scale production of edible coatings, made from predominately dairy proteins and waste dairy streams; their storage stability; and, as films for secondary packaging. Objective 3: Develop fermentation technologies for utilizing dairy coproducts or waste streams to produce antimicrobial peptides by lactic acid bacteria, and assess their activity against bacterial pathogens and spoilage microorganisms. Objective 4: Develop a process for recovering food-grade, allergen-free fat from frozen dessert waste.

Dairy processing generates waste streams ranging from those that are mostly water to packaged products that did not meet a manufacturer’s quality standards. This project aims to utilize the watery acid whey streams generated from Greek-style yogurt (GSY) manufacture, cheese whey, permeates, and wasted products such as ice cream through computer simulation and laboratory and pilot plant research. Computer simulation of an actual GSY plant will be used to investigate ways to recover and reuse water from the waste streams and for optimizing extraction of nutrients with economic value. The model will be customized by choosing conditions for straining based on the properties of a finished GSY with properties that consumers appreciate using knowledge-based systems and advanced simulation methods. Laboratory and pilot plant experiments will examine the manufacture of edible films and coatings from the watery streams for food and nonfood uses by standardizing the feed material used for each type of film. Other research will determine if the dairy waste streams or byproducts can be utilized as fermentation substrates for the production of antimicrobial peptides by dairy lactic acid bacteria. Preliminary studies will seek to optimize antimicrobial peptide production by varying substrate composition and fermentation parameters. Additionally, molecular techniques will be investigated for developing bacterial strains capable of producing higher concentrations of antimicrobial peptides, and fermentates will be assessed for novel antimicrobial peptides generated via the degradation of native milk proteins. Fermentation technologies will be assessed for pilot-scale production of antimicrobial peptides and resulting fermentates will be investigated for food safety and functional food applications. Finally, research will determine whether allergen free butterfat can be recovered from waste ice cream using a cost-appropriate process. This will be accomplished by studying the stages of fat separation and refining individually, and at each stage testing a variety of technologies for efficacy and projected cost. Pilot plant implementation of the chosen technologies will be used along with techno-economic analysis to generate results that enable ice cream manufacturers to evaluate the process for possible adoption. This project will introduce several sustainable approaches for reducing energy and water use, and recovery of process wastes with added value for food or nonfood uses.