IIT Roorkee’s Game-Changing Technique Paves the Way for Healthier and More Efficient Milk Processing

· One-step separation of fat globules based on size from bovine milk using a cross-flow microfiltration

· Groundbreaking Breakthrough: One-Step Milk Fat Isolation Set to Transform Dairy and Food Industries

09, 11, 2023: A study conducted by a research team at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) demonstrates one-step separation of fat globules based on size from bovine milk using a cross-flow microfiltration. The first author (Ph.D. student: Ayushi Kapoor) has been granted the International Travel Award by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, as her research paper has been selected for Oral presentation, which she will be delivering at the upcoming Annual Conference of the Membrane Society Australasia conference in Perth, Australia in December.

Milk microfiltration has gained attention in the dairy industry due to its ability to selectively separate and concentrate bioactive components from milk and its further application in food fortification. One such compound is milk fat globules, a bioactive component with potential health benefits, which undergo structural and functional damage, membrane phospholipids loss, experience longer processing time, and higher recovery cost due to its current multi-step separation process.

The research team comprised Ayushi Kapoor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Roorkee; Saurav Datta, Amgen Bioprocessing Center, Keck Graduate Institute, Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, Claremont; Gaurav Gupta, Department of Industrial and Management Engineering, IIT Kanpur; Ajay Vishwakarma, Department of Polymer and Process Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Saharanpur Campus; Avinash Singh, Department of Dairy Technology, Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences, Prayagraj; Sujay Chattopadhyay, Department of Polymer and Process Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Saharanpur Campus; Kiran Ambatipudi, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Roorkee.

The first author, Ph.D. student at the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Roorkee, Ayushi Kapoor, highlighted the research output of this study, “Our study has developed a one-step process which not only operates efficiently at lower pressure but also successfully preserves the structure of separated fat globules. The current milk fat globule separation techniques involve 4-5 steps which makes it a more time-consuming and costly process. Also, the excess processing steps damage the milk fat globules leading to the reduction in their nutritional properties. Whereas, the process that we have developed directly separates from raw milk, without applying any pre-processing, thus saving time, energy and money, when implemented at the industrial level”.

The research team at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee has developed a groundbreaking one-step process to separate smaller, health-beneficial milk fat globules from cow and buffalo milk based on their size, preserving their structural and nutritional qualities. This innovation streamlines operations, saving time, energy, and resources, and has the potential to reduce milk fat content, making it suitable for consumption across age groups. The isolated fat globules can be utilized to create functional food ingredients, including infant formula, and serve as raw materials for various high-value products in the food and pharmaceutical industries, offering significant benefits to these sectors.

The study was recently published in the Separation and Purification Technology journal, and the institute has already filed a complete Indian patent for the process.

Expressing his heartfelt congratulations to the researchers, Prof K K Pant, Director, IIT Roorkee, said, “Output of this research will provide valuable insights for further advancements in fat globule isolation and opens avenues for future research and industrial applications.”

This innovative approach to milk fat globule separation has the potential to revolutionize the dairy and food processing industries, offering a more efficient and cost-effective method for preserving the nutritional qualities of milk fat globules.

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