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This news article was originally written in Spanish. It has been automatically translated for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace a human translator. The original article in Spanish can be viewed at Se estudia cómo aprovechar el suero desechable del queso en farmacia y cosmética

We study how to make disposable whey from the cheese in Pharmacy and cosmetics


May 18, 2011

Almost 85% of the milk used to manufacture cheese is discarded in the form of serum, a fluid rich in salts and lactose, with 20% of the proteins of milk. For this reason, studies the valorization of this serum as a by-product in the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics and food. This would be a beneficial effects from the ecological point of view, which until then this serum has been considered a residue whose treatment involves additional costs, since his discharge in large amounts generates environmental impact.

Thus, nine dairy companies, pharmaceutical industries and research centres of Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria and Romania working for two years in the project of the '7th programme framework Whetlac', which develops new techniques for obtaining from the serum lactic acid and its use as an additive in drugs or biocompatible polymeric materials, advises the sync platform.

The three Spanish participants came from Castile and León, Spain. In particular, the Cartif Foundation coordinates the project, in which also collaborate the zamorana cheese-making company Salvador Rodríguez's sons and the pharmaceutical Ragactives. In total, the project has a budget of 1.26 million euros, of which about a million comes from the European Commission.

Researchers from the Cartif Químico-Alimentaria area, Monica Ruiz and Francisco Javier Gutierrez, explained that lactose which is obtained from the serum can refine and use in the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics or food additive. However, there are too many litres within year which can generate an excess not assimilated by the market. He is studied as a way of alternative valuation: the possibility of lactic acid in the serum, which already purified is a product of great added value. In particular, and according to the researchers, the lactic acid is a very important molecule in the world of biopolymers and new materials, is a chemical base that has many applications. In addition, and in his view, the idea of the Whetlac project is, on the one hand, turn the lactose into lactic acid and, on the other hand, purify it as much as possible, something that scientists have already achieved.

In the work involving all actors of the sector involved, both dairy companies that produce the waste as the pharmaceutical industries who might use it. Likewise, a company involved in issues of engineering that could implement the process already a full-scale it participates in the Consortium. In this sense, the tasks of the project there have been joint and integrated way under the coordination of the technological centre Cartif. Thus the project is at the stage of deciding what will be the final output that will be given to the results obtained. One of them, in accordance with the situation on the market of lactic acid, is patented the implemented process and sell it to companies specializing in this type of solution.