Isolation of caseins from whey proteins by microfiltration modifying the mineral balance in skim milk

A. Hernández, F. M. Harte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The objective of this work was to study the effect of different salts and salt concentration on the isolation of casein micelles from bovine raw skim milk by tangential flow microfiltration. Tangential flow microfiltration (0.22 μm) was conducted in a continuous process adding a modified buffer to maintain a constant initial sample volume. This buffer contained calcium chloride (CaCl2), sodium phosphate (Na2HPO4), or potassium citrate (K3C6H5O7) in concentrations ranging from 0 to 100 mM. The concentrations of caseins and whey proteins retained were determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE and analyzed using the Scion Image software (Scion Corporation, Frederick, MD). A complete isolation of caseins from whey proteins was achieved using sodium phosphate in the range of 10 to 50 mM and 20 times the initial volume of buffer added. No whey proteins were detected at 50 mM but this was at the expense of low caseins being retained. When lower sodium phosphate concentrations were used, the amount of caseins retained was higher but a small amount of whey proteins were still detected by sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE. Among the salts tested, calcium chloride at 50 mM and all volumes of buffer showed the higher retention of casein proteins. The highest casein:whey protein ratio was found at 30 mM CaCl2, but no complete casein micelle isolation was achieved. Potassium citrate was the most ineffective salt because a rapid loss of caseins and whey proteins was observed at all concentrations and with low quantities of buffer added during the filtration process. Our results show the potential of altering the mineral balance in milk for isolation of casein micelles from whey proteins in a continuous tangential flow microfiltration system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5357-5362
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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