The ARC Dairy Innovation Hub, led by Associate Professor Sally Gras, is based at The University of Melbourne. In collaboration with The University of Queensland and their major partner organisation, Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd, the Research Hub is carrying out transformational research to underpin the future of the Australian dairy manufacturing industry.

Funded under the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubsscheme, the Research Hub is investigating how dairy manufacturers can recover high-value ingredients from increasing volumes of by-products to maximise commercial returns.

For example, using an electrically-driven membrane process, Professor Sandra Kentish and Dr George Chen developed a new technique to separate the different components of whey from milk, allowing them to select the beneficial parts and leave behind the unwanted lactic acid. The by-products can then potentially be used to make ingredients for other desirable products, such as baby formula, energy bars, drinks and desserts.

Once this technology is adopted, it could reduce disposal costs and allow recovery and use of protein and sugars in this by-product stream, generating ~$26 million per annum across the industry.

To date, the ARC Dairy Innovation Hub is estimated to have contributed to over $151 million in increased sales and commercial benefits for the companies involved.

Image: Dr George Chen.
Image courtesy: JJFotoz / The University of Melbourne.