Separation of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin using membrane ultrafiltration

Beelin Cheang, Andrew L. Zydney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


There is considerable commercial interest in the preparation of individual whey proteins as high-value food additives, nutraceuticals, and therapeutics. This study examined the use of membrane filtration for the separation of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin. Stirred cell filtration experiments were performed using both cellulosic and polyethersulfone membranes to determine the optimal pH, ionic strength, and filtration conditions. Selectivities of greater than 55 could be achieved at pH 5.5 and 50 mM ionic strength using a 30-kD cellulose membrane. A diafiltration process was then designed for the protein separation. A 16-diavolume filtration yielded β-lactoglobulin as the retentate product with a purification factor of 100 and recovery of 90%. The α-lactalbumin was recovered in the filtrate with a purification factor of more than 10 and nearly 99% yield. Model calculations were in good agreement with the experimental data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 20 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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