Selective separation of the major whey proteins using ion exchange membranes
Goodall, S., Grandison, A. S., Jauregi, P. J. and Price, J. (2008) Selective separation of the major whey proteins using ion exchange membranes. Journal of Dairy Science, 91 (1). pp. 1-10. ISSN 0022-0302
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To link to this article DOI: 10.3168/jds.2007-0539
Synthetic microporous membranes with functional groups covalently attached were used to selectively separate beta-lactoglobulin, BSA, and alpha-lactalbumin from rennet whey. The selectivity and membrane performance of strong (quaternary ammonium) and weak (diethylamine) ion-exchange membranes were studied using breakthrough curves, measurement of binding capacity, and protein composition of the elution fraction to determine the binding behavior of each membrane. When the weak and strong anion exchange membranes were saturated with whey, they were both selective primarily for beta-lactoglobulin with less than 1% of the eluate consisting of alpha-lactalbumin or BSA. The binding capacity of a pure alpha-lactoglobulin solution was in excess of 1.5 mg/cm(2) of membrane. This binding capacity was reduced to approximately 1.2 mg/cm(2) when using a rennet whey solution (pH 6.4). This reduction in protein binding capacity can be explained by both the competitive effects of other whey proteins and the effect of ions present in whey. Using binary solution breakthrough curves and rennet whey breakthrough curves, it was shown that alpha-lactalbumin and BSA were displaced from the strong and weak anion exchange membranes by beta-lactoglobulin. Finally, the effect of ionic strength on the binding capacity of individual proteins for each membrane was determined by comparing model protein solutions in milk permeate (pH 6.4) and a 10 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 6.4). Binding capacities of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and BSA in milk permeate were reduced by as much as 50%. This reduction in capacity coupled with the low binding capacity of current ion exchange membranes are 2 serious considerations for selectively separating complex and concentrated protein solutions.