Water Recovered From Whey Can Be Used For Clean-In-Place Procedures

A novel process allows water to be recycled for cleaning, according to a new study from Journal of Dairy Science®

Philadelphia, PA, April 14, 2016

Water scarcity is a serious issue and a concern among the dairy industry, as declines in the availability of water could decrease food supply and increase food price. Water is necessary for many applications, including equipment cleaning, which can use 1 to 60 liters of water per kilogram of processed milk. Given the amount of water needed and concerns regarding resource scarcity, researchers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln sought to find a method to recycle and reuse water from whey for clean-in-place systems. Their findings provide scientific evidence of the safety of reuse of reconditioned water in food processing plants, contributing to building a culture of water conservation and sustainable production throughout the food supply chain.

Current regulations indicate that only potable water may be used to clean food contact surfaces and equipment surfaces, but reconditioning and reuse of water is a promising alternative currently acceptable for initial cleaning of fruits and vegetables as well as scalding of meat and poultry. In their study, University of Nebraska researchers Yulie Meneses and Rolando Flores tested wastewater from whey of Cheddar cheese by subjecting it to reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration, as well as an additional step of spray drying. The resulting reconditioned water was used to clean stainless steel surfaces that had a biofilm, with promising results from both bacterial counts and scanning electron microscopy analysis.

“Using the combined ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system, 47% of water can be recovered from whey,” lead author Yulie Meneses said. “This demonstrates the viability of our method for wastewater, as the cleaning efficiency was comparable to potable water in clean-in-place systems,” added project leader Rolando Flores.

Further, by incorporating spray-drying and condensation into the process, recovery of additional water can be achieved; after suitable treatment, that water could also be used in cleaning applications or other activities with high water demand.

“Sustainable production and manufacturing is a priority for the dairy industry. This new research demonstrates that an unwanted by-product of dairy manufacturing (whey) can be processed to generate clean water, saleable food, and additional revenue for dairy manufacturers,” said Journal of Dairy Science Editor-in-Chief Matt Lucy.

Because of its potential in terms of revenue and conserving natural resources, these wastewater reclamation techniques are highly interesting. More research is required, however, to further elucidate risks and broader environmental issues as they relate to the techniques in this study.


Notes for editors
“Feasibility, safety, and economic implications of whey-recovered water in cleaning-in-place systems: A case study on water conservation for the dairy industry,” by Yulie E. Meneses and Rolando A. Flores (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2015-10306), Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 99/Issue 5 (May 2016), published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732-238-3628 or jdsbmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Jill Brown, External Relations, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln at +1 402-472-2871 or jbrown14@unl.edu.

About Journal of Dairy Science®
Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), official journal of the American Dairy Science Association, is co-published by Elsevier and FASS Inc. for the American Dairy Science Association. It is the leading general dairy research journal in the world. JDS readers represent education, industry, and government agencies in more than 70 countries with interests in biochemistry, breeding, economics, engineering, environment, food science, genetics, microbiology, nutrition, pathology, physiology, processing, public health, quality assurance, and sanitation. JDS has a 5-year Impact Factor of 3.071 according to the 2014 Journal Citation Reports®, published by Thomson Reuters. www.journalofdairyscience.org

About the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA)
The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) is an international organization of educators, scientists, and industry representatives who are committed to advancing the dairy industry and keenly aware of the vital role the dairy sciences play in fulfilling the economic, nutritive, and health requirements of the world's population. It provides leadership in scientific and technical support to sustain and grow the global dairy industry through generation, dissemination, and exchange of information and services. Together, ADSA members have discovered new methods and technologies August that have revolutionized the dairy industry. www.adsa.org

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Media contacts
Eileen Leahy
+1 732-238-3628

Ken Olson, PhD, PAS
American Dairy Science Association®
+1 630-237-4961