Two major areas of future dairy development are new high protein formulations and new process technologies. There are several problems associated with drying large volumes of liquid with high protein concentrations. A key perennial issue is uncontrolled protein aggregation, leading to fouling of process lines and membranes, poor solubility on rehydration and the presence of surface flecks or sediment in the final product. Little is known of the mechanism of milk powder hydration due to the speed and complexity of events at the molecular level and globally, there are very few laboratories investigating the issue. This project will develop new data and methods for characterising powder hydration in real time using new photonics-based sensors developed by CAPPA, in addition to high-speed imaging and digital image analysis. Advanced nano-imaging techniques and 3D X-ray micro tomography will be used to characterise powder hydration events and other mechanical properties at the nano- and micro-scales using different microscopy techniques. The results will be used to reverse-engineer easily dispersible protein-enriched powder formulations optimised for rehydration by the end user. In parallel, in-line ultra-sonication will be developed to ensure efficient dispersion and hydration of primary ingredients prior to spray drying.
There are several objectives of the DAIRYDRY project which include:
- Develop new analytical tools and baseline knowledge to understand the scientific basis of powder formulation and hydration properties and key formulation-process conditions
- Integrate and optimise formulation-process conditions for manufacturing through new sensor-based process control
- Evaluate new mixing/ dispersion process technology for powder processing
- Develop a new platform of high protein base powders with enhanced stability and hydration properties