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The Sepralac Process

The development of the market for special constituents in milk offers some very interesting opportunities to the dairy industry and to the many different industries using such constituents in their formulated products.

These products are unique in their applications. It offers mankind new possibilities in the search for improved and better life style and for curing illnesses and health problems by using ingredients extracted from natural sources. The development of a patented process called Sepralac® has made it possible to isolate certain proteins from whey in a cost-effective manner, which is easily scalable to the requirements of the market.

A major producer in New Zealand is the first licensee and is already producing products. In Europe the first licensee is a major Irish ingredient producer.

Sepragen offers the technology to a limited number of producers and expects to have seven licensees around the world within the next couple of years.

Applications of Whey Based Ingredients


Ingredient

Attribute

Application

a -lactalbumin

Tryptophan content
Essential amino acids
Branched chain amino acids

Humanized baby food
Nutritional products
Sports drink formulations

Lactoferrin

Sequesters iron
Antimicrobial agent in body
Immunostimulating effect

Infant formula
Nutritional bars
Sports & performance products
Medical products

Lactoperoxidase

Antibacterial agent in body

Shampoo
Toothpaste
Acne preparation

Glycomicropeptides

Body weight management
Appetite suppressant
Management of phenylketonuria

Sports performance products
Medical products

The Process

The process for producing WPI, alpha-enriched WPI, beta-enriched WPI, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and glycomicropeptides is shown in the figure below:

In order to capture the proteins on the resin, the pH of the whey is adjusted to a low pH. This will give all the proteins a positive charge, which will bind it to the negatively charged SepraPrep-S resin.

The pretreated and pH-adjusted whey is loaded on the column after the column has been equilibrated. Then the column is washed with water and the proteins are eluted by means of patented 'Opposing Salt and pH' gradients.

The process fractions are processed in an ultra- and diafiltration plant, where the protein is concentrated to 25-27% total solids, while the permeate containing the buffer salt solution is processed in a reverse osmosis plant, concentrating it to 2-3% solids for re-use.

The protein concentrate is dried in a spray dyer, which can be of the tall-form type using an inlet air temperature of 180°C.

Sepralac® Process Economics

Assumptions:
Volume: 250,000 liters of whey per day
Whey type: Sweet cheese whey, pre-treated, past., normal comp.
Processing time: 24 hours per day, 300 days a year
 

Products
Permeate
Whey Protein Isolate
a –enriched WPI
ß-enriched WPI
Lactoferrin
Lactoperoxidase
 
 

Market Price US D/Kg
0.18
7.5
15
9
250
300

Annual Prod. (Kg)
WPI
a –enriched WPI
ß-enriched WPI
Lactoferrin
Lactoperoxidase
Permeate


Annual Prod. (USD)
WPI
a–enriched WPI
ß-enriched WPI
Lactoferrin
Lactoperoxidase
Total
Permeate*  
 

Case 1
364,500
 
 
 
 
4,110,000
 
 
Case 1
2,773,750
 
 
 
 
2,773,750
739,800  
 

Case 2
362,800
 
 
1,200
500
4,110,000
 
 
  Case 2
2,721,000
 
 
300,000
150,000
3,171,000
739,800  
 

Case 3
 
145,120
217,680
1,200
500
4,110,000
 
 
Case 3
 
2,176,800
1,959,120
300,000
150,000
4,585,920
739,800
 

Investment
3* 500 L RFC columns
Tanks, pumps, piping
Automation and valves
Membrane systems
Total
 
 
Annual Prod. Costs
Depreciation
Resin costs
Membrane system OP
  costs
Chemicals
Water
Energy
Waste treatment
Cost of whey (.5 c/L)
Labor
Drying costs
Total  
  

USD
675,000
200,000
350,000
300,000
1,525,000
   
 
USD
190,625
150,000
80,000

120,000
30,000
110,000
25,000
375,000
288,000
91,125
1,469,750
 

Annual Gross 
Margin, USD 
Revenue 
Production costs 
Gross margin 

Case 1
Process A
2,773,750
1,469,750
1,264,000

Case 2
Process B
3,171,000
1,690,210
1,480,790

Case 3
Process C
4,585,920
1,763,700
2,822,220

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