Novel Functional Whey-Based Drinks with Great Potential in the Dairy Industry 

Carlos Pereira1, Marta Henriques1*, David Gomes1, Andrea Gomez-Zavaglia2 and Graciela de Antoni2,3

1IPC-ESAC/CERNAS, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, College of Agriculture, PT-3045-601 Bencanta,
 Coimbra, Portugal
2Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology, CIDCA CCT CONICET, RA-1900
  La Plata, Argentina
3Laboratory for Microbiology, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Exact Sciences, UNLP, RA-1900
  La Plata, Argentina

Article history:
Received December 22, 2014
Accepted May 13, 2015

Key words:
whey protein concentrate, ultrafiltration permeate, reverse osmosis, kefir, probiotic

This work focuses on the production of liquid whey protein concentrates by ultrafiltration followed by thermal denaturation and homogenization of the ultrafiltrated concentrate, as well as on the production of ultrafiltrated permeates concentrated by reverse osmosis. Kefir grains (fresh and thawed) and/or commercial probiotic bacteria were inoculated in both liquid whey protein concentrates and concentrated ultrafiltrated permeates and grown at 25 °C for 24 h for the manufacture of fermented drinks. The physicochemical characterization (pH, titratable acidity, viscosity, and content of total solids, ash, fat and proteins) of the obtained drinks was then assessed and compared. Enumeration of viable microorganisms was carried out immediately after inoculation (at 0 h), during the fermentation period (at 12 and 24 h) and during refrigerated storage (at 48, 168 and 336 h). The fermented drinks showed acceptable physicochemical and sensorial properties, and contained above 7 log CFU/mL of lactococci and lactobacilli and 6 log CFU/mL of yeasts after 14 days of refrigerated storage, which is in agreement with the standards required by international organizations like European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for products containing probiotics. In summary, the strategy developed in this work contributes to the expansion of the applications of products derived from whey fractionation for the design of novel functional foods.

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