Foam fractionation of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin from a whey solution

A. P. Shea, C. L. Crofcheck, F. A. Payne, Y. L. Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Whey, a byproduct of cheese production, is often considered a waste stream. Separation and purification of whey proteins is a difficult and expensive task. Occasionally, it is transported out of the dairy plant for a per volume charge. One possible method to reduce the waste volume and disposal cost is to concentrate whey by foam fractionation and potentially produce a valuable coproduct, a concentrated whey protein solution. Foam fractionation is an adsorptive bubble separation method based on the hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of proteins. In this study, foam fractionation was evaluated for the concentration of whey proteins, specifically α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin, from a dilute whey protein solution. The effects of initial whey protein concentration (0.075 and 0.15 mg/ml), pH (3.8-5.5), superficial gas velocity (0.85 and 0.95 cm/s) and temperature (4 and 65°C) on protein enrichment and recovery were examined. Higher enrichment was achieved with the lower initial protein concentration (0.075 mg/ml), and at pH values that were near the isoelectric points (pI) of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin (pH 3.8, 4.2, 4.5, and 5.2). Higher superficial gas velocity enhanced the amount of proteins recovered with a decrease in the enrichment. Cold temperature treatment and partial heat denaturation of whey proteins reduced enrichment and increased protein recovery simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-203
Number of pages13
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Foam fractionation
  • Protein recovery
  • Whey proteins
  • α-lactalbumin
  • β-lactoglobulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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