Now-Patented Acidified Whey Protein Method Gets Rid of “Off” Notes


It comes down to pH levels, the patent authors explain.

Acidified whey protein can often taste too tart or astringent when made by conventional methods. But Glanbia Nutritionals Ireland (Brussels, Belgium) says its method, patented in late January, improves flavor, odor, tartness, and sweetness.

It comes down to pH levels, the patent authors explain. Conventional methods include dry blending an acid with whey proteins.But the pH levels of these dry-blended acidified whey proteins can only be lowered so far before significant astringency and tartness problems develop, the authors state.

Instead, Glanbia uses wet blending to first combine whey protein and an acidulant, prior to spray drying. The company uses a precise amount of acidulant to effectively lower the pH level to a desirable range (most likely between 2.8 and 5.6), subsequently improving flavor.

The process reduces the pH level just enough to improve flavor, while maintaining appropriate protein levels in a final product. “For example, in certain embodiments, substantial improvement in flavor may be obtained by reducing the pH of the whey protein composition to a value of 5.5 while still providing at least about 80 wt% [protein by weight]…” the patent authors state.

The patent authors also describe how drying the protein at a lower pH enables a more stable protein structure-which can, in turn, make the protein more resistant to the heat degradation of amino acids and the release of sulfur compounds.

The new patent, #8,637,102, is called “Acidified whey protein compositions and methods for making them.”


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine

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