Sustainable alternative for the food industry: converting whey and orange juice into a micro-filtered beverage
ABSTRACT: Enhancing industrial sustainability by converting whey into alternative high value-added products is a scientific trend in food science and technology. However, without other ingredients, rennet, or sour, whey has an unappetizing flavor. This sensory challenge can be overcome by blending it with citrus flavor from orange juice. This study assessed a micro-filtered beverage from whey and orange juice without enzymatic treatment. Four formulations (27:10, 8.6:10, 2.4:10 and 1:10 v/v whey:juice ratio) were processed through a 1.4 μm microfiltration system with four different transmembrane pressures (1, 2, 3, and 4.15 bar) and then stored at 5 °C for 28 days. The micro-filtered beverage was analyzed for physicochemical, sensorial and microbial changes. It was possible overcome the technological challenges of orange juice microfiltration without enzymatic treatment with high transmembrane pressures. The whey:orange juice ratio was also decisive for permeation. A clear beverage with lower viscosity, turbidity, and protein levels was obtained, without altering mineral concentrations thus showing that the product has good capacity for hydration. The beverage presented good microbiological quality and remained stable for 28 days at 5 °C. Sensory evaluation data indicate that the beverage can be directed to young people and women, regardless of their physical activity. The combination of whey and orange juice can be explored industrially as a micro-filtered beverage, with satisfactory results of physicochemical, microbiological and sensory acceptance.