The dairy biorefinery: Integrating treatment processes for cheese whey valorisation

Asunis, Fabiano
De Gioannis, Giorgia
Dessì, Paolo
Isipato, Marco
Lens, Piet N.L.
Muntoni, Aldo
Polettini, Alessandra
Pomi, Raffaella
Rossi, Andreina
Spiga, Daniela
Asunis, Fabiano, De Gioannis, Giorgia, Dessì, Paolo, Isipato, Marco, Lens, Piet N. L., Muntoni, Aldo, Polettini, Alessandra, Pomi, Raffaella, Rossi, Andreina, Spiga, Daniela. (2020). The dairy biorefinery: Integrating treatment processes for cheese whey valorisation. Journal of Environmental Management, 276, 111240. doi:
With an estimated worldwide production of 190 billion kg per year, and due to its high organic load, cheese whey represents a huge opportunity for bioenergy and biochemicals production. Several physical, chemical and biological processes have been proposed to valorise cheese whey by producing biofuels (methane, hydrogen, and ethanol), electric energy, and/or chemical commodities (carboxylic acids, proteins, and biopolymers). A biorefinery concept, in which several value-added products are obtained from cheese whey through a cascade of biotechnological processes, is an opportunity for increasing the product spectrum of dairy industries while allowing for sustainable management of the residual streams and reducing disposal costs for the final residues. This review critically analyses the different treatment options available for energy and materials recovery from cheese whey, their combinations and perspectives for implementation. Thus, instead of focusing on a specific valorisation platform, in the present review the most relevant aspects of each strategy are analysed to support the integration of different routes, in order to identify the most appropriate treatment train.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland