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Everything about industrial lactose powder

20 July 2016

Lactose manufacturing process

Lactose is extracted from milk serum. Lactose extraction may be done through two distinct methods.

The first method consists in separating one after the other the components of milk: proteins and fat by ultrafiltration, mineral by ionic exchange and electrodialysis and water by concentration and drying.

The second method, the most widely spread, uses the low solubility of lactose. Deproteinised lactoserum is concentrated by evaporation. Saturated solution passes through a crystallisation tank. Crystal sizes and forms are closely linked to cooling conditions. Crystals are then separated by washing and spinning for bigger crystals and by decanting for thinner crystals. Lactose with around 6% of humidity is then dried on a fluidised bed and milled. Its crystallisation and crushing allow manufacturing of lactose with various grain sizes adaptable to numerous industrial requirements.

Lactose benefits: its nutritional value

As other carbohydrates, lactose supplies energy that may be immediately used by the body. Its main nutritional advantage is to optimise milk calcium utilisation, by increasing intestinal absorption and dairy protein assimilation.

Lactose is an important calorific agent, it helps maintaining a balance in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It is essential for bone growth.

Various industrial uses of lactose and their benefits

  • Confectionery / Chocolate manufacturing: Lactose has many peculiar crystallisation properties, as it crystallises better than sucrose. When it is mixed with other sugars, it modifies their crystallisation properties.
  • Bakery: Lactose does not hydrolyse easily and is not fermented by beer yeast. Enzymes in this yeast do not destroy lactose molecule. Lactose remains in bakery products after cooking and preserve freshness and humidity. Moreover, lactose helps taking a nice brown colour of caramel.
  • Pastry: Lactose has the property to fix food perfume and enhance the aroma of the product.
  • Charcuterie / Meat salting industry: easy to use, slightly sweet, cheap, lactose associated with lactic ferments give food a compact texture. Lactose is a preservation agent.
    • Sausages: lactose brings dry matter and may ferment.
    • Cooked ham: lactose is used as an emulsifier and as a water retention agent. It is defined by technological efficiency (ratio in % of cooked product compared to used fresh meat).
  • Reconstituted dairy produce  
  • Ultra fresh: lactose is used as a standardisation agent and as sweetener for manufacturing ultrafresh products.
  • Dietary foodstuffs: lactose has a positive influence for modifying intestinal bacterial flora. In the instestine, lactose helps indeed development of a beneficial intestinal lactic flora (bifidobacteria et lactobacteria) to the detriment of adverse micro-organisms.
  • Baby food: used as energy supply (slow sugar). Galactose present in lactose is an essential sugar for children mental development. This lactose undergoes one additional step of refinement to have a higher purity grade.

Click here to discover the lactose powder offered by FIT.