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Improved Milk Protein Separation

Invention Number: 
A separation membrane system that reduces membrane fouling.


An improved separation membrane system that significantly reduces membrane fouling during concentration, fractionation and purification of milk components.  The overall system efficiency and capacity is increased by reducing the accumulation of particles and bacteria that block membrane pores.

 Key Benefits

  • Reduced membrane fouling
  • Reduced protein denaturation and microbial growth -  Lower temperature processing
  • Improved separation efficiency
  • Longer operating time before cleaning - Greater membrane capacity
  • Simple, easy to operate and maintain

Potential Applications

  • Milk protein processing – separation, concentration, fractionation
  • Separation of proteins
  • Concentration of casein
  • Fractionation of whey protein

Technical Data 

The vibrational membrane system moves a submerged hollow fibre membrane in a transverse motion. Operating at about 10 Hz and low temperature (10 °C), it maintains good separation performance even at high feed concentration and viscosity.  It fully rejected the casein while maintaining high transmission of β-lactoglobulin and α-lactalbumin. 

The Opportunity 

UNSW is seeking a partner to license this technology or to work with the researchers to further develop it.

Researcher Details

Vicki Chen, PhD 

Professor & Head of School, School of Chemical Engineering

Yun Ye, PhD