Whey drying technology is transferred to Arab countries

By: Ashraf Amin

[القاهرة] An effective technology for drying whey is being transferred to the first two countries in the region, as part of a Euro-Mediterranean project bringing together research bodies in Southern Europe and North Africa.

Whey is one of the secondary components of cheese-making that is rarely seen in the countries of the region. .

The strange scene is completed when companies import dried whey; To take advantage of its nutritional products for athletes.

This imbalance in the management of this by-product is currently being rectified in both Egypt and Tunisia, within the framework of the “Prima” initiative supported by the European Union’s Research and Innovation Program “Horizon 2020”, which aims to achieve sustainable water management and food systems in the Mediterranean region.

The project involves the use of a special technology to benefit from whey, in collaboration between 10 research centers from 6 countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, France and Spain.

The project officially began field studies in December 2019 to estimate the amount of waste in pasture, whether in Tunisia or Egypt, and the environmental problems that result from it, according to Amjad El-Qadi, Director of the Center for Food Industries and Agricultural Processing. Technology at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Egypt.

Follow this beginning – as the judge tells Network SciDev.Net– “Workshops and design a prototype for the technology used in drying, and the application is being phased in in both countries to measure the efficiency of the technology.”

The technique used is ‘pulse drying’, a method that combines heat and powerful sound waves.

This technology is 25% energy efficient compared to conventional methods, which instantly turn liquids into powder while preserving nutritional value.

The judge points out that when cheese is made, 10-25% of the milk is converted into cheese, and the remaining percentage is in the form of whey, which contains about 50% of the nutrients of milk, such as essential amino acids, quickly digestible proteins, vitamins, minerals and lactose, all of which are essential elements for building the human body and activating its immune system.

According to the data of the Egyptian Chamber of Food Industries, the total production volume of dairy factories in Egypt annually amounts to more than 766 000 tons of cheese, compared to two million tons of whey, and more than 90% of dairy factories classified between small to medium not It has modern technologies for drying whey.

Al-Qadi points to the high cost in the case of using traditional methods of drying, in addition to the absence of a local market for the purchase and circulation of the final product.

During a survey conducted by the Center for the Employees of 77 Dairy Factories, it was found that most factories dispose of grazing in public drains and waterways, while some of them use it as a feed additive or as a preservative solution for cheese. .

El-Kady, on the other hand, points out that Egypt imports whey components in large quantities in the form of concentrated protein powder, with about $ 78 million annually, since the price of a ton, according to its technical specifications, is between $ 600 and $ 3,000. . Baby formulas and in the manufacture of milk for those who are allergic to cow’s milk proteins.

The scene in Tunisia looks similar, as explained by Sanaa Jaballah, director of the research and development unit at the Technical Center for Food Industries, which works there under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry. The absence of sterilizers and waste management in cheese factories is one of the problems that needs to be addressed.

says Sana to the network SciDev.Net“Up to this point, the remnants of the cheese industry and by-products are not utilized in the urban and rural production sector, for various reasons, including the lack of control over the storage and transport technology of secondary products, the high cost of hardening drying units, and the lack of economic feasibility for owners of small and medium-sized factories to produce whey. ” and to market it.

She added: “Therefore, the technology transfer that is taking place with European research centers will enhance the advantage of this product and qualify for the emergence of new markets that market alternative food methods. It is also possible to think of a central collection unit to maximize its use. ”

In Egypt, a project is currently being studied to establish a center for the collection and processing of dairy whey in the areas where the cheese industry is concentrated in the Egyptian governors, in addition to the technical support needed to establish such projects and develop food products. by including whey as an essential component in it, which benefits the food industries and reduces dependence on the product.The importer, according to the judge.

The project was praised by Hamdi Abdel Samie, professor of health and food safety at Benha University in Egypt, and noted that whey is the most important by-product in the cheese industry. Because it contains many nutrients, “unfortunately it is not available in developing countries to dry at an appropriate cost, and its storage and assembly requires expensive space, equipment and capabilities.”

In developed countries, it is dried and added to pastries, cookies and baby food, and its components are extracted separately with ultrafiltration technology, according to Abdel Samie.

Al-Qadi confirms that the project will end in November 2022 after ensuring the success of the prototype and the ability to sustain the project, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic caused its disruption for a large period.

This article was produced by the SciDev.Net Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa

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