Valorisation of non-food-grade milk by casein extraction and conversion
One hundred million tonnes of milk are discarded annually because it is considered unfit for food consumption (due to thermal degradation, cellular problems or germs).
In a simple process, casein is extracted from milk and processed without the addition of chemicals to obtain various products such as biopolymers (automotive, clothing, home textiles, cosmetics or medical applications).
Casein (milk protein) is produced through a precipitation process and then plasticised with water at moderate temperature in a continuous kneading process. The resulting biopolymer is pressed through a spinner in a melt spinning process. Since the process takes place at less than 100°C, the special properties of the milk can be maintained (the resulting products being suitable for people with allergies and topical problems). The production of 1 kg of biopolymer takes place in 5 minutes and requires 2 litres of water. The products are marketed by the company QMILK. Used in cosmetics, it is produced in the form of micro beads, being antibacterial and hypoallergenic for skin cleansing. Used in the textile field, it is antibacterial, self-regulates temperature and absorbs moisture. As a functional material, it can be produced in granules or in sheets/films. In general, the product resulting from the process is free of isocyanate, halogens, solvents, hazardous plasticisers, silver, triclosan and zinc oxide.
Market deployment considerations