Science & Research

Product innovation: Milk ingredients, fractions and powders

Research submissions

In order to keep the dairy industry strong, National Dairy Council® product research drives demand for dairy products and ingredients through the funding of pre-competitive nutrition and product research.

Learn about funding opportunities

The fractionation of milk now is economically and technically feasible because of recent research advances. As we continue to explore this area, we’re looking to discover new processing technologies and applications to expand its use.
Milk ingredients researcher at work

Adding value

Fractionation of dairy proteins can be considered as value-added processing. It improves the functionality and broadens the use of dairy proteins as ingredients. 

An area of active research is to understand the processing variables impacting the quality of these products.

View the most recent technical insights and research below or log in and download the complete list of research projects in this area.

Published research

Other publications of interest

Published research

Dairy researcher at work
Dissolving dairy powders under proper conditions optimizes energy and facility costs
Researchers in France found that water temperature and stirring speed were the most important parameters in their study on optimizing rehydration of dairy powders. Improving powder solubility to optimize rehydration will allow the industry to reduce energy input and increase productivity of equipment.
Review summarizes how enzymes produce flavors in dried dairy ingredients
Flavor is considered the most important factor in determining the success or failure of a food product, but flavors produced by enzymes are difficult to control. A recent review published by researchers from the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center at North Carolina State University explains how enzymes in milk create good and off-flavors in dairy ingredients.
Three-dimensional imaging reveals internal structure of native casein micelle
Images taken with a transmission electron microscope and newer techniques show that native casein micelles are assembled in an airy, spongelike structure, which may explain micelles’ ability to act as a carrier for other molecules. Casein proteins are not dissolved in milk but are suspended in the form of small particles called micelles.
Sodium improves the solubility of high-protein milk powders
Due to their protein content, milk powders are in demand by product developers. Researchers recently discovered a new technique to improve their dissolvability by increasing their sodium or potassium content, which makes the milk powders more suitable for use in certain foods and beverages.
New information on colloidal calcium phosphate will help improve dairy product functionality
As a component of dairy, casein plays an important role in cheese making and other dairy product production, supplying essential amino acids, calcium and phosphorus. Casein molecules in milk exist as casein micelles (CM). Colloidal calcium phosphate (CCP) is key in the formation, stability, physical properties and integrity of CM.
Milk powder particle size and shape impact rehydration process
With food manufacturers requesting easy-use ingredients throughout all manufacturing processes, including rehydration, it is important for the dairy industry to provide powders that align with the request.
Rheological properties of rennet-induced skim milk gels made from milk protein concentrate solutions with different ratios of αs-:ß-casein
Authors discuss the rheological properties of rennet-induced skim milk gels made from milk protein concentrate solutions using various ratios of alpha and beta casein. Results show that the alpha/beta casein ratio is an important parameter in determining both small and large deformation rheological properties of rennet-induced skim milk gels.
Milk protein gels
This special report on emerging milk protein opportunities includes the latest research on applications, processing and markets.
Improvements in quality and performance of micellar casein concentrates may improve the performance of UHT-processed beverages
Demand for micellar casein concentrates (MCCs) is increasing. Researchers at the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center at Cornell University conducted a series of three studies to help the industry understand how processing conditions affect the protein functionality in beverages.
Methods to convert milk micelles into unique functional protein
Researchers provided technical insights on the surface chemistry of casein to help the dairy industry develop ways to convert it into functional ingredients for new food or pharmaceutical use. Micelles, found in milk, are made of durable protein particles that naturally bury their fat-soluble amino acids in their inner core, making them soluble in water-based beverages such as milk.
Mechanism of Bifidobacteria oxygen tolerance proposed that could lead to wider use in dairy food and beverage applications
Probiotic Bifidobacteria may provide health benefits to humans but are only used in a limited number of food applications because they do not survive when they are exposed to oxygen. Researchers at Utah State University and the University of Wisconsin discovered that two strains of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis can survive in oxygen if their genes are manipulated with care or if a fatty acid is inserted into their cell membrane.

Other publications of interest

Milk protein concentrates fact sheet

Learn about the benefits of milk protein concentrates, which are used for their nutritional and functional properties. They’re currently used to manufacture cream cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and more.  

Aerobic spore-formers in milk and dairy products literature review
This review is a comprehensive source of information on endospore-forming bacteria well-known for their involvement in food spoilage and safety.
Combining protein micro-phase separation and protein-polysaccharide segregative phase separation to produce gel structures
The objective of this study was to determine the range of gel structures that can be created using combined mechanisms of ion-induced micro-phase separation of proteins and protein-polysaccharide interactions. The study found that the combined mechanisms of ion-induced micro-phase separation of proteins and protein-polysaccharide phase separation and inversion can be used to alter gel structure and texture.
Food Product Design article: The next generation of dairy ingredients

As consumers look for new products, dairy researchers are challenged to develop new ingredients that deliver benefits to tomorrow’s foods.

Flavor variability and flavor stability of U.S.-produced whole milk powder
This study provides baseline information to determine specific factors that can be controlled to optimize flavor and stability of U.S.-produced whole milk powder.
Using dairy ingredients to alter texture of foods: implications based on oral processing considerations
Authors review various dairy ingredients that can be manipulated to create a range of textures in foods. The article evaluates food structure, oral processing and sensory evaluation to enhance readers’ understanding.
Effect of nitrogen flushing and storage temperature on flavor and shelf-life of whole milk powder

This study evaluated the influence of packaging atmosphere, storage temperature and storage time on whole milk powder (WMP) shelf life. Results show that nitrogen flushing prevents a painty flavor from developing in WMP stored up to one year at 2 or 23 C. Nitrogen flushing can be applied to extend the shelf life of WMP for use in chocolate.

Effects of caseins on thermal stability of bovine β-lactoglobulin
This study shows that beta casein is a feasible component to stabilize higher concentrations of whey proteins in beverages.
Impact of dairy ingredients on the flavor profiles of foods
Dairy ingredients encompass a wide range of highly functional and nutritious ingredients. Flavor of these products can have a significant impact on the quality and shelf life of ingredient applications. The flavor variability and shelf stability of these products and the influence of processing steps and storage are the topics of this chapter in “Dairy-derived Ingredients: Food and Nutraceutical Uses.”
Identification of starch in milk protein gels using confocal microscopy
This June 2009 Microscopy Today article discusses staining techniques for milk-based starches.
Functionality of ingredients: emulsifying salts
This book chapter covers the main types of emulsifying salts, properties and roles of emulsifying salts used in process cheese and analogues, and selection of emulsifying salts.
Effects of protein concentration and CaCl2 on cold-set thickening mechanism of β -lactoglobulin at low pH
This article provides technical insights to improve the thickening behavior of whey protein at cold temperatures using small amounts of calcium chloride during the whey protein modification process. Not only will this insight provide manufacturers protein gels without using heat and additional salt, but the addition of calcium adds another benefit for consumers, leading to expanded usability of whey in food products.
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