Orthogonal processing strategies to create “phage-free” whey – Membrane filtration followed by thermal or ultraviolet C treatment for the reduction of Lactococcus lactis bacteriophages

Affiliation
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Department of Soft Matter Science and Dairy Technology, Garbenstraße 21, Stuttgart, Germany
Michel, Christina;
Affiliation
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Department of Soft Matter Science and Dairy Technology, Garbenstraße 21, Stuttgart, Germany
Samtlebe, Meike;
GND
1038278325
Affiliation
Max Rubner-Institut (MRI), Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Germany
Wagner, Natalia;
GND
103793184X
Affiliation
Max Rubner-Institut (MRI), Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Germany
Neve, Horst;
GND
142442968
Affiliation
Max Rubner-Institut (MRI), Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Germany
Franz, Charles M. A. P.;
Affiliation
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Department of Soft Matter Science and Dairy Technology, Garbenstraße 21, Stuttgart, Germany
Hinrichs, Jörg;
Affiliation
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Department of Soft Matter Science and Dairy Technology, Garbenstraße 21, Stuttgart, Germany
Atamer, Zeynep

Lactococcal bacteriophages can cause fermentation failures in the cheese production (e.g., Cheddar), especially when the by-product whey (≤10⁹ plaque-forming units mL−¹ of bacteriophages) is recycled and added to new batches. Using membrane filtration, the bacteriophage titre in whey can be reduced by 4 log units without protein denaturation. To achieve higher bacteriophage reduction (≥9 log units), we attempted an orthogonal process strategy (combination of different technologies supporting each other). Three representative bacteriophages were inactivated in membrane filtered whey by (i) UV-C irradiation and (ii) heat treatment to achieve additional 5 log units reduction. Thermal treatment was only partially successful, as the varying degrees of heat resistance required, in the worst-case, temperature-time combinations above pasteurisation conditions. In contrast, UV-C treatment required doses of maximally 2.25 J cm−² for successful inactivation, thus representing a promising avenue for the establishment of a novel process for the production of “phage-free” whey.

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