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Title:
METHOD FOR EXTRACTION OF LACTOSE FROM WHEY OR A WHEY MIXTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/098058
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Methods of extracting lactose from whey are disclosed herein. Such methods can include removing water from the whey, thereby causing precipitation of lactose from the whey. The resulting heterogeneous mixture may be passed through one or more vibrating filters to separate the solid lactose from the liquid portion of the whey. Related products, such as the lactose-enriched retentate and the lactose-depleted filtrate obtained from such processes, are also disclosed herein.

Inventors:
O'REILLY, Dominick (Carton North, Tooreen, Ballyhaunis, IE)
Application Number:
EP2016/080703
Publication Date:
June 15, 2017
Filing Date:
December 12, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
O'REILLY, Dominick (Carton North, Tooreen, Ballyhaunis, IE)
International Classes:
A23C9/142; A23C21/00; C07H1/08; C13K5/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2015099960A12015-07-02
WO2014141164A12014-09-18
Foreign References:
US3423208A1969-01-21
US3535784A1970-10-27
Other References:
CECILIA HODÚR ET AL: "Comparison of 3DTA and VSEP systems during the ultrafiltration of sweet whey", DESALINATION AND WATER TREATMENT : SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ; DWT, vol. 10, no. 1-3, 3 October 2009 (2009-10-03), UK, pages 265 - 271, XP055359838, ISSN: 1944-3994, DOI: 10.5004/dwt.2009.927
JAFFRIN ET AL: "Dynamic shear-enhanced membrane filtration: A review of rotating disks, rotating membranes and vibrating systems", JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE, ELSEVIER BV, NL, vol. 324, no. 1-2, 31 October 2008 (2008-10-31), pages 7 - 25, XP024525125, ISSN: 0376-7388, [retrieved on 20080628], DOI: 10.1016/J.MEMSCI.2008.06.050
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ORR, Robert (Urquhart-Dykes & Lord LLP, Arena PointMerrion Wa, Leeds LS2 8PA, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A method of extracting lactose from a whey mixture, the method comprising: removing water from the whey mixture including lactose;

after removing water, passing the whey mixture into an interior defined by a housing and a first filter screen;

vibrating the first filter screen; and

passing the whey mixture through the vibrating first filter screen.

2. The method of claim 1 , further comprising:

after passing the whey mixture through the first filter screen, passing the whey mixture through a second vibrating filter screen having less porosity than the first filter screen.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the first and second filter screens are arranged in a vertically stacked configuration.

4. The method of claim 2, further comprising:

after passing the whey mixture through the second filter screen, passing the whey mixture through a third vibrating filter screen having less porosity than the second filter screen.

5. The method of claim 4, further comprising:

after passing the whey mixture through the third filter screen, passing the whey mixture through a fourth vibrating filter screen having less porosity than the third filter screen.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising:

after passing the whey mixture through the fourth filter screen, passing the whey mixture through a fifth vibrating filter screen having less porosity than the fourth filter screen.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising:

after passing the whey mixture through the fifth filter screen, passing the whey mixture through a sixth vibrating filter screen having less porosity than the fifth filter screen.

8. The method of claim 7, further comprising:

after passing the whey mixture through the sixth filter screen, passing the whey mixture through a seventh vibrating filter screen having less porosity than the sixth filter screen.

9. The method of claim 2, wherein the first filter screen has a porosity of 900 microns and the second filter screen has a porosity of 500 microns.

10. The method of claim 4, wherein the first filter screen has a porosity of 900 microns, the second filter screen has a porosity of 500 microns, and the third filter screen has a porosity of 300 microns.

1 1 . The method of claim 5, wherein the first filter screen has a porosity of 900 microns, the second filter screen has a porosity of 500 microns, the third filter screen has a porosity of 300 microns, and the fourth filter screen has a porosity of 200 microns.

12. The method of claim 6, wherein the first filter screen has a porosity of 900 microns, the second filter screen has a porosity of 500 microns, the third filter screen has a porosity of 300 microns, the fourth filter screen has a porosity of 200 microns, and the fifth filter screen has a porosity of 100 microns.

13. The method of claim 7, wherein the first filter screen has a porosity of 900 microns, the second filter screen has a porosity of 500 microns, the third filter screen has a porosity of 300 microns, the fourth filter screen has a porosity of 200 microns, the fifth filter screen has a porosity of 100 microns, and the sixth filter screen has a porosity of 50 microns.

14. The method of claim 8, wherein the first filter screen has a porosity of 900 microns, the second filter screen has a porosity of 500 microns, the third filter screen has a porosity of 300 microns, the fourth filter screen has a porosity of 200 microns, the fifth filter screen has a porosity of 100 microns, the sixth filter screen has a porosity of 50 microns, and the seventh filter screen has a porosity of 20 microns.

15. A method of extracting lactose from whey, the method comprising:

placing on a filter screen a heterogeneous whey mixture that includes both solid and liquid components, the solid component comprising lactose;

vibrating the filter screen; and

passing the whey mixture through the filter screen.

Description:
METHOD FOR EXTRACTION OF LACTOSE FROM WHEY OR A WHEY MIXTURE

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to methods of extracting lactose from whey.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0002] FIG. 1 is an embodiment of an apparatus suitable for use with the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0003] The present disclosure relates to methods of extracting lactose from whey. Such methods may be used to obtain whey or whey solids with reduced amounts of lactose. High levels of lactose may be problematic to some individuals, such as those suffering from lactose intolerance. The methods described herein may be used to produce whey or whey solids that are suitable for ingestion by those with lactose sensitivities. Methods disclosed herein may also be used to isolate lactose. Products formed by these methods are also disclosed herein.

[0004] As used herein, the term "whey" is broadly used to refer to liquid byproducts of the manufacture of cheese or other dairy products. For example, "whey" may refer to liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. When used to describe a sample of whey, the term "solids content" refers to the proportion, by weight, of non-volatile material in the whey over the total amount of material in the whey. Unless otherwise stated, all ranges include both endpoints and all numbers between the endpoints.

[0005] Exemplary processes for extracting lactose from whey are described below. In some embodiments, a sample of whey is initially obtained in any suitable fashion, such as by straining milk that has been curdled. Whey typically includes lactose, a disaccharide sugar. Stated differently, lactose may be a solute in a sample of whey. Once the sample of whey has been obtained, the sample of whey may be heated and slowly cooled. During the cooling stage, lactose may precipitate out of solution. For example, lactose may crystallize as the sample of whey is cooled. The solid (e.g., crystallized) lactose may be removed from the liquid in any suitable manner. For example, in some embodiments, the heterogeneous mixture formed upon cooling is centrifuged to pellet the solid lactose. The liquid whey may then be decanted, thereby separating the solid lactose from the liquid.

[0006] While the process described in the preceding paragraph is useful for removing a portion of the lactose in whey, the resulting liquid may nonetheless contain lactose in amounts that are higher than desired. Further processing of the whey to remove additional amounts of lactose may be carried out as described below. One of ordinary skill in the art with the benefit of this disclosure will recognize that the processing steps described below may, in addition to being used in connection with whey that has been processed as described in the preceding paragraph, be used in connection with unprocessed whey (or whey that has been processed in some other fashion).

[0007] Water may be removed from a sample of whey (e.g., processed or unprocessed whey). For example, a sample of whey may be placed in an evaporator and heated to evaporate off water in the sample. Water may be removed from the sample to achieve a predetermined concentration of solids. For example, in some embodiments, water is removed until the whey has a solids content of between 10% and 80%, between 10% and 50%, between 10% and 30%, between 30% and 80%, between 50% and 80%, between 25% and 60%, or between 35% and 50%. Once the sample of whey has been concentrated to the desired extent, the sample of whey may be cooled.

[0008] Evaporation of water and subsequent cooling of the sample of whey may result in further precipitation of lactose. Stated differently, evaporation and subsequent cooling may cause lactose crystals to form.

[0009] Due to the high solids content of whey that has been concentrated by the removal of water, centrifugation and decantation to remove solid lactose may be impractical. Accordingly, other methods of removing solid lactose from a concentrated whey mixture are desired.

[0010] In some embodiments, whey that has been concentrated by the removal of water may be further processed to separate precipitated lactose from a liquid portion of the whey. For instance, the precipitated lactose and the liquid portion of the whey may be placed on one or more filter screens. The screen(s) include a plurality of apertures that are sized to allow liquid to pass through the screen(s) while retaining precipitated lactose as a retentate on the filter screen(s). In this manner, an operator may obtain both a lactose-enriched retentate on the filter screen(s) and a lactose- depleted filtrate.

[0011] In some embodiments, a plurality of filter screens may be used to filter the lactose from the liquid portion of the whey. For example, in some embodiments, a plurality of filter screens are arranged in a stacked configuration. More particularly, the filter screens may be arranged such that screens of increased porosity (i.e., having relatively large apertures) are disposed above screens of decreased porosity (i.e., having relatively small apertures). In this manner, as the concentrated whey mixture is placed on the top screen of the plurality of screens, the whey mixture may pass through the screens, with each screen removing smaller lactose-enriched aggregates than the screen directly above it. In this fashion, lactose aggregates (e.g., crystals) of various sizes may be collected.

[0012] As noted above, screens of differing porosities may be used to filter solid lactose from a liquid portion of a whey concentrate. For example, in some embodiments, pore size may vary from 900 microns to 20 microns. In an exemplary embodiment, a first (e.g., top) screen may have a porosity of 900 microns, a second screen may have a porosity of 500 microns, a third screen may have a porosity of 300 microns, a fourth screen may have a porosity of 200 microns, a fifth screen may have a porosity of 00 microns, a sixth screen may have a porosity of 50 microns, and a seventh (e.g., bottom) screen may have a porosity of 20 microns. One of ordinary skill in the art with the benefit of this disclosure will understand that the number of screens and the pore sizes of such screens may be varied from the particular sizes discussed above. For example, in some embodiments, one, two, three, four, five, or six screen(s) may be used instead of the seven described above.

[0013] In some embodiments, one or more screens may shake or vibrate as the concentrated whey mixture is filtered. Vibrating the one or more screens may cause the mixture to move on the surface of the screen. Such movement may decrease clogging of the pores of the filter screen, allow different portions of the mixture to contact the surface of the filter screen, and/or increase the speed of filtration. In some embodiments, one or more high-frequency vibrating screens may be used.

[0014] In some embodiments, between 50% and 95%, between 50% and 80%, between 50% and 65%, between 65% and 95%, between 80% and 95%, or between 65% and 80% of the lactose in the concentrated whey mixture may be recovered on the filter screens. The lactose precipitate (e.g., lactose crystals) that is recovered as retentate on the one or more filter screens may be between 80% and 95% dry solids (i.e., have a water content of between 5% and 20%). Due to the relatively low water content of this lactose retentate, further drying may be accomplished in a cost- effective manner.

[0015] Referring to FIG. 1 , one embodiment of a filtering system 00 is shown. The filtering system 100 may also be referred to as a rotary vibrating sieve, sieve shaker, or vibro separator. The system 100 incorporates circular unitary gyratory filter screens used to separate mass composition of solids from solids, and liquid from solid, and for gradation of materials as per particle size. This is accomplished by vibrating the screens in three different planes along the vertical axis by means of a specially designed vibration electric motor 78 having off-centered weights at the top and bottom end of a motor shaft.

[0016] The system 100 includes a shield 102 or top cover with a feeding inlet 104. The shield 102 may be coupled to a first housing 106 through use of a clamp 108. A first outlet 1 10 communicates with a first interior 1 12 defined by the first housing 106. A first filter screen 1 14 separates the first interior 1 12 from a second interior 1 16 which is defined by a second housing 1 18. A second outlet 120 communicates with the second interior 1 16.

[0017] A second filter screen 122 separates the second interior 1 16 from a third interior 124 which is defined by a third housing 126. A third outlet 128 communicates with the third interior 124.

[0018] A third filter screen 130 separates the third interior 124 from a fourth interior 132 which is defined by a fourth housing 134. A fourth outlet 136 communicates with the fourth interior 132.

[0019] A fourth filter screen 138 separates the fourth interior 132 from a fifth interior 140 which is defined by a fifth housing 142. A fifth outlet 144 communicates with the fifth interior 140.

[0020] A fifth filter screen 146 separates the fifth interior 140 from a sixth interior 148 which is defined by a sixth housing 150. A sixth outlet 152 communicates with the sixth interior 148. [0021] A sixth filter screen 154 separates the sixth interior 148 from a seventh interior 156 which is defined by a seventh housing 158. A seventh outlet 160 communicates with the seventh interior 156.

[0022] A seventh filter screen 162 separates the seventh interior 156 from an eighth interior 164 which is defined by a eighth housing 166. An eighth outlet 168 communicates with the eighth interior 164.

[0023] The above-recited elements rest on a platform 170 which is coupled to a plurality of springs 172. The springs 172 are coupled to a base 174 which supports the system 100. A motor housing 176 is coupled to the platform 170 and supports the vibration electric motor 178. The vibration electric motor 178 vibrates the screens 1 14, 122, 130, 138, 146, 154, and 162 in three different planes along the vertical axis. The motor 78 includes a top weight 180 which causes vibration in the horizontal plane and causes the material to move across the screen towards the periphery. The motor 178 includes a lower weight 182 which acts to tilt the system 100 and causes vibration in the vertical tangential axis.

[0024] Although the system 100 illustrates seven screens, one of skill in the art will appreciate that an alternative number of screens (e.g., one, two, three, four, five, or six) may be used to separate the lactose from the whey mix. The filter screens 1 14, 122, 130, 138, 146, 154, and 162 may vary in pore size from 900 microns to 20 microns. In one embodiment, the first filter screen 1 14 may have a porosity of 900 microns, the second filter screen 122 may have a porosity of 500 microns, the third filter screen 130 may have a porosity of 300 microns, the fourth filter screen 138 may have a porosity of 200 microns, a fifth filter screen 146 may have a porosity of 100 microns, a sixth filter screen 154 may have a porosity of 50 microns, and a seventh filter screen 162 may have a porosity of 20 microns.

[0025] The whey mixture is introduced into the inlet 104, and the whey mixture passes through the filter screens 1 14, 122, 130, 138, 146, 154, and 162. Simultaneously, the motor 178 vibrates the filter screens 1 14, 122, 130, 138, 146, 154, and 162, and each proceeding screen removes smaller lactose-enriched aggregates than the subsequent screen. Lactose aggregates of various sizes exit out of corresponding outlets 1 10, 120, 128, 136, 144, 152, 160, and 168 where they may be collected and stored. [0026] Any methods disclosed herein include one or more steps or actions for performing the described methods. The method steps and/or actions may be interchanged with one another. In other words, unless a specific order of steps or actions is required for proper operation of the embodiment, the order and/or use of specific steps and/or actions may be modified. Moreover, sub-routines or only a portion of a method described herein may be a separate method within the scope of this disclosure. Stated otherwise, some methods may include only a portion of the steps described in a more detailed method.

[0027] Reference throughout this specification to "an embodiment" or "the embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with that embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the quoted phrases, or variations thereof, as recited throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

[0028] Similarly, it should be appreciated by one of skill in the art with the benefit of this disclosure that in the above description of embodiments, various features are sometimes grouped together in a single embodiment, or description thereof, for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. This method of disclosure, however, is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that any claim requires more features than those expressly recited in that claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in a combination of fewer than all features of any single foregoing disclosed embodiment. Thus, the claims following this Detailed Description are hereby expressly incorporated into this Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as a separate embodiment. This disclosure includes all permutations of the independent claims with their dependent claims.

[0029] It will be apparent to those having skill in the art that changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the present disclosure.