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An Italian company, that works in the biotechnology field, solved the problem of cheese whey (byproduct of cheese making) disposal by using an innovative patent pending technological process. It converts whey into yeast for bakery and other products, together with the recovery of whey protein that find their application in food, beverages, and nutraceuticals.
The company is interested to sign a financial agreement with manufacturers in these sectors, to industrialise the process.
The biotechnology company, based in Italy, aims at the redevelopment of agri-food waste for the production of high value-added products, such as microbial biomass and proteins. In particular, they developed a new technology process to solve the problem of cheese whey disposal.
The company aims to connect two traditional sectors, cheese and baking ones, turning whey into yeast by an innovative biotechnological approach.
The company has already invested funds into research and development, in order to optimize the fermentative parameters for the production of baker’s yeast, on laboratory scale, and obtain its technical data sheet. Then, they have assembled a pilot plant for the pre-treatment of cheese whey and the recovery of whey proteins, and, not least, made an important network with cheese factories, that are service users and raw material providers too. The next objective is to build a production plant with the appropriate instrumentation. The construction of an industrial production plant will require a huge investment and appropriate commercial and financials partnership.
Therefore, company is seeking for partners to sign a financial agreement, in order to take the technology process from the laboratory to an industrial level.
Whey has high environmental impact due to its chemical composition and needs a proper disposal. Cheese factories pay to give it to authorized treatment facilities, but because of the high treatment cost (about 30 €/ton) and huge volumes of whey produced (9 liters of whey every 10 liters of milk transformed in cheese), it is often dispersed in sewer or soil causing eutrophication, soil depletion and waterproofing with negative effect on biodiversity.
Classical waste management by wastewater treatment centres is the most common strategy for dairy effluent purification. This purification includes mechanical, physicochemical and biological methods; the result is a poor settling sludge that need to be discarded. Besides the high costs, it involves a huge water consumption (10 liters of water every liter of whey). As cheaper alternative, cheese whey is often used as additive in animal feed but, due to restrictions about the percentage that can be added, this cannot be a solution for all the total volume produced. Whey can be lyophilized and sold as whey or lactose powder for food application, but for dairies is just as costly as converting it into powder. Unfortunately, these expensive practices are not always put in place encouraging with illegal disposal.
The process developed has several advantages, such as:
• a cheaper disposal service
• from marketing point of view, cheese factories takes part to an eco-friendly network
• yeast production process starting from the whey as new less expensive raw material, compared to the molasses that is nowadays imported mainly by Asia.
The company is looking for partners, especially industries, that work in agri-food field, interested in investing resources in the industrialization of the process technology for the production of yeast starting from cheese whey disposal.