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Strategy for revalorization of cheese whey streams to produce phenyllactic acid.
1  Department of Food engineering, Faculty of engineering, İzmir Institute of technology, Urla, İzmir, Turkey
2  Bioengineering Application and Research Center (BIYOMER), Integrated Research Centers (TAM), İzmir Institute of technology, İzmir 35430, Turkey
3  Department of Food Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, Atatürk University, Erzurum 25240, Turkey
Academic Editor: Chi-Fai Chau


Cheese whey (CW) is the residual-liquid waste from the cheese-manufacturing industries, which is rich in diverse nutrients with the potential for the usage as a growth-matrix for sustaining (LAB) fermentation. Lactic acid (LA) and phenyllactic acid (PLA), and their derivatives are green chemicals that can be produced by LAB metabolism by revalorization of CW. LA and PLA are known for their antimicrobial properties, immunoregulatory functions, and production of biobased polymers (bio-degradable plastics) like poly lactic acid and poly-phenyl lactic acid; hence they find numerous applications in agricultural /food-based, pharmaceutical, bio-chemistry, or medical fields, and as antibiotic supplements in livestock feeds in animal husbandry. Herewith, we discuss our experimental strategy /concept (that can be implemented) for the microbial fermentation of cheese whey streams using robust LAB cocultures to produce PLA through sequential steps, adding a note upon their possible applications hereof. It is proposed that various food matrices like raw cow milk, fermented cow milk, fermented table olives, would be screened for the isolation of robust lactic acid bacteria that can be used as starter cultures for fermentation of cheese whey liquids for producing augmented levels of LA and/or PLA. Moreover, the feasibility of practically producing PLA using an orchestrated assemblage of simple procedures viz., isolating robust LAB strains from natural food matrices, tailoring LAB growth using selective medium sustenance, adopting adaptive evolution procedures for improving resistance to higher temperatures and tolerance to lactic acid and/or cheese whey (low-cost substrate), and using FTIR and HPLC tools for analysing the PLA content produced, is discussed. Two Lactobacillus isolates (CM30_001 and CMW_10-3) sourced from raw cow milk and fermented cow milk whey, were found to produce PLA contents of 39mg/L and 32mg/L in batch-stage fermentation, using this proposed strategy.

Keywords: Cheese whey; lactic acid; phenyllactic acid; lactic acid bacteria, applications