The most important and first step was the use of the newly developed ultrafiltration system for whey in the 1970s. Once established, this technology continued to be developed further.
The drivers included the discovery of the potential of whey protein in food products, the desire to create infant formula as close to breast milk as possible and aspects related to customs issues. The improved sales potential for the by-product (permeate) also had an impact.
Today, processes are being developed for further, even smaller fractionation of proteins. The requirements for producing even better infant formula are an important catalyst in this regard. In practice, this means that whey protein concentrates are being enriched with additional alpha-lactalbumin. At the same time, the features of beta-lactoglobulin need to be retained – no small feat in itself. The manufacturing process for micellar casein is also being developed further.
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