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Technological Utilization of Whey towards Sustainable Exploitation

Author(s): Photis Papademas,

 Whey is the yellow-green liquid with sour, slightly salty aftertaste that is separated from the curd during cheese-making and is classified into two categories based on the method of milk coagulation; sweet and acid whey [1-3]. Sweet whey is obtained as a result of enzymatic milk coagulation by chymosin, and has a pH value of 6-7 and it is also known as cheese whey. Acid whey is a by-product of milk coagulation by acidification with a pH value <5 [4]. The use of whey and its products date back in the 1970s. At that time, whey was used in whey baths because of the beneficial active ingredients, which not only have anti-inflammatory qualities but also nurture the skin [5]. The good reputation of whey started to fade in the 19th century when whey was considered as a burdensome, environmentally damaging waste by-product of the dairy industry [6,7]. The majority of whey was utilized for animal food or it was treated as a waste and was poured into rivers in vast amounts. Farmers often used the phrase “out of sight out of mind” to describe their concern for whey. According to the International Dairy Federation, cheese production was increased by 13% in 2017 including 56 countries worldwide, while in 2018 cheese production was increased further by 16% (IDF, 2017, 2018). Therefore, “the challenge” continues to grow; many dairy companies have led the way to a new era for the use of whey. Based on the positive effects of whey, new products have been discovered and this has resulted in minimizing the overall waste of whey. The world’s largest dairy companies have already introduced a new generation of products based on whey. For instance, Arla Food Ingredients has recently developed a lowvolume, high-protein medical beverage which contains 10 g of high quality whey protein and is low in lactose. This product is suitable for patients recovering from malnutrition due to its lowvolume dietary treatment. Furthermore, Nestlé Health Science has developed a whey powder, called Resource Whey Protein powder which is a powder-based soluble protein designed for the dietary management of malnourished patients. Nestlé Health Science has also introduced a whole new product series called Boost; the series include a line of nutritional drinks with highquality protein, vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D. Many other companies continue to develop wheybased powders, such as Fonterra with Whey Protein Concentrate (80% protein) and Whey Protein Isolate (approximately 90%) along with Lactalis with FloWhey-whey powders and Pronativ, Native Whey Protein. These products are a great source of protein digested by the body allowing fast absorption of its nutritional benefits into the body. 

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