Today, membrane filtration is an essential part of milk, yogurt, cheese, and ingredient production in the dairy industry. A new trend in chilled milk preparation is standardization of total solids to control the seasonal variation. Some regions in the world have high variation in the total solid and milk composition over the seasons. Therefore, we see more and more demand for RO concentration in the preparation of chilled milk. That being said, some countries fx in the EU are not allowed to standardize milk total solids when producing milk.
RO maintains the ratio of all nutrients in the milk by only removing water. The volume is reduced which leads to the need of more than 1 litre of raw milk to produce 1 litre of chilled milk. This increases the cost of production, and therefore RO standardized milk is normally branded as premium.
Another trend that has been introduced lately is to use membrane filtration in combination with chromatography. In this process, high value-added ingredients such as lactoferrin are extracted. In the lactoferrin production the milk is passed through a resin designed to capture the lactoferrin. Afterwards, the milk can be utilized as a base for fx MPC production in many countries. The lactoferrin is released from the resin in an eluation step and purified in several membrane filtration steps before drying.