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Abstract

Whey protein is a derived by-product from cheese manufacturing and has many health benefits due to its high-level content of bioactive peptides, such as β-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, serum albumin, immunoglobulin, and lactoferrin. These proteins have antioxidant characteristics that reduce hypertension, cancer, hyperlipidemia, and virus contagious. In addition, whey protein is utilized to lessen the inflammatory bowel disease. In this review, we highlighted the characteristics, applications, functional properties of whey proteins.
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
337
Review Article https://doi.org/10.20546/ijcmas.2020.907.036
Therapeutic Benefits and Applications of Whey Protein
Mahmoud E. Ahmed1, Ahmed M. Hamdy1* and Ahmed R. A. Hammam1,2
1Dairy Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt
2Dairy and Food Science Department, South Dakota State University,
Brookings 57007, SD, USA
*Corresponding author
A B S T R A C T
Introduction
Whey is a by-product which is produced
during cheese making by coagulating the milk
by acid or enzymes. The typical composition
of bovine milk (Table 1) has approximately
3.5% protein (about 80% of the protein
content is casein, while 20% is whey
proteins).
Whey proteins have a high nutritional value,
and its composition varies based on the
coagulation method (acid or enzymes).
However, the composition of the final product
is similar which has > 90% water (Table 2).
Using advanced technology, such as
membrane filtration led to the manufacturing
of different whey products (Yalcin, 2006;
Guo and Wang, 2019a) (Table 3).
Whey is a good source of bioactive peptides,
which are produced from whey by enzymatic
hydrolysis during fermentation and
gastrointestinal digestion. These bioactive
peptides are utilized widely to improve
human health and have inevitable roles, such
as anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidative,
immunomodulant, anti-mutagenic, anti-
International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences
ISSN: 2319-7706 Volume 9 Number 7 (2020)
Journal homepage: http://www.ijcmas.com
Whey protein is a derived by-product from cheese manufacturing and has
many health benefits due to its high-level content of bioactive peptides,
such as β-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, serum albumin, immunoglobulin,
and lactoferrin. These proteins have antioxidant characteristics that reduce
hypertension, cancer, hyperlipidemia, and virus contagious. In addition,
whey protein is utilized to lessen the inflammatory bowel disease. In this
review, we highlighted the characteristics, applications, functional
properties of whey proteins.
Ke ywo rds
Whey protein,
therapeutic benefits;
sweet whey, acid
whey
Accepted:
05 June 2020
Available Online:
10 July 2020
Article Info
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
338
microbial, opioid, anti-thrombotic, anti-
obesity, and mineral-binding agents. It has
been reported that many bioactive peptides
help against inflammatory bowel disease in
mice (Jayatilake et al., 2014).
Recently, whey proteins have been used in
many foods, including ice cream, bread, and
infant formula; moreover, whey proteins can
replace fat in many products (Hammam and
Ahmed, 2019). Furthermore, these dairy
products are also associated with lower risks
of hypertension, coagulopathy, stroke, and
cancer insurgences (Sultan et al., 2018).
Additionally, whey proteins have a significant
role in muscle-structure complement (Lollo et
al., 2011; Josse and Phillips, 2013). Whey
proteins also have other applications, such as
films and coatings (Hammam, 2019a) that are
widely used to enhance the texture and quality
of several foods. This work aims to review
and highlight whey protein products and
functional properties. Furthermore, the health
benefits and applications of whey proteins are
also discussed in this review.
Types of whey
Milk consists of fat globules and casein
micelles that dispersed in the whey solution
(Figure 1). The typical composition of whey
compared to whole milk is shown in Table 1.
Whey is a yellowish or greenish by-product
that derived from coagulating the milk by
using rennet or acid. As a result, the whey is
defined as sweet or acid based on the
coagulation method. The composition of
sweet whey and acid whey is quietly similar
(Table 2) except for lactose, calcium, and pH.
In the acid whey case, the pH is decreased
during fermentation until the isoelectric point
(pH=4.6), and this, in turn, converts the
calcium in calcium casein phosphate complex
from insoluble to soluble, which resulted in
higher calcium content in the acid whey.
Lactose is a soluble component and represents
> 69% of the total solids, while minerals
represent 12-15% and whey protein or serum
protein 8-10% of the total solids.
Manufacturing and applications of whey
protein products
Whey protein can be utilized to produce many
products that have many applications (Figure
2). As mentioned, there are two types of
permeate, namely sweet whey and acid whey.
Acid whey is a by-product which is more
difficult to utilize and produced from the
coagulation of milk by using acid or starter
cultures without the use of rennet. On the
other hand, sweet whey has advantages as
compared to acid whey, since sweet whey
(milk-derived whey protein) can be utilized in
many applications, particularly making whey
protein isolate (WPI).
Nowadays, membrane technology (Figure 3)
is utilized widely in the dairy industry to
fractionate dairy ingredients, which led to
several whey protein products (Table 3).
When microfiltration (MF) applied to milk;
casein and permeate are fractionated. The MF
permeate could be further concentrated by
using ultrafiltration (UF) to produce whey
protein concentrate (WPC) or whey protein
(WP) and permeate as a by-product. The UF
permeate could be used to produce
fermentation products, or it could be further
nanofiltered (NF) to fractionate lactose. The
NF by-product could be filtered again by
using reverse osmosis (RO) to separate the
minerals from the water. These membranes
could be used individually or combined based
on the required permeate product and its
application (Table 4).
Chemistry of whey proteins
Milk is utilized as feeding for young animals
and humans due to the nutritional value of
whey protein (Miller et al., 2002).
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
339
Bovine milk contains approximately 3%
protein (Fox and McSweeney, 1998), which
divided into 80% casein (CN) and 20% whey
proteins (Pihlanto and Korhonen, 2003).
Whey protein has different fractions,
including -lactoglobulin (-LG) and -
lactalbumin (-LA), which are the majority of
whey proteins and represent 70-80% of the
whey protein. Also, there is proteose-peptone
that resulted from the proteolysis -casein (-
CN); besides small amounts of bovine serum
albumin, immunoglobulins (Ig), and small
peptides (Whitney, 1988a; Miller et al.,
2002). The amino acid profiles in whey
proteins are completely different from casein
due to their lower content of Glu and Pro and
higher amount of sulfur-containing amino
acid residues (such as Cys and Met).
These proteins are dephosphorylated,
sensitive to high temperature, insensitive to
Ca2+, and liable to the intermolecular bond
formation through disulfide bonds between
cysteine sulfhydryl groups.
Table.1 The composition of whole milk and whey.
Adapted from (Smithers, 2008; Côrtes et al., 2010; Hammam et al., 2017)
Components
Weight (%)
Whey
Total solids
6.3 7.0
Lactose
4.4 4.6
Casein
< 0.1
Whey protein
0.6 0.8
Fat
0.1
Ash
0.5
Table.2 Typical composition of sweet and acid whey.
Adapted from (Tunick, 2008a; Hammam et al., 2017; Hammam, 2019a)
Components
Weight (%)
Sweet whey
Acid whey
Total solids
6.3 7.0
6.3 7.0
Lactose
4.6 5.2
4.4 4.6
Protein
0.6 1.0
0.6 0.8
Calcium
0.04 0.06
0.12 0.16
Phosphate
0.1 0.3
0.2 0.45
Chloride
0.11
0.11
pH
> 5.6
< 5.6
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
340
Table.3 Typical composition of whey products; Adapted from (Yalcin, 2006; Tunick, 2008a;
Hammam et al., 2017; Guo and Wang, 2019b; Hammam, 2019a)
Product
Weight (%)
Protein
Lactose
Fat
Ash
Moisture
Sweet whey powder
11.0 14.5
63.0 75.0
1.0 1.5
8.2 8.8
3.5 5.0
Acid whey powder
11.0 13.5
61.0 70.0
0.5 1.5
9.8 12.3
3.5 5.0
Demineralized whey
11.0 15.0
70.0 80.0
0.5 1.8
1.0 7.0
3.0 4.0
WPC (34% protein)
34.0 36.0
48.0 52.0
3.0 4.5
6.5 8.0
3.0 4.5
WPC (60% protein)
60.0 62.0
25.0 30.0
1.0 7.0
4.0 6.0
3.0 5.0
WPC (80% protein)
80.0 82.0
4.0 8.0
4.0 8.0
3.0 4.0
3.5 4.5
WPI
90.0 92.0
0.5 1.0
0.5 1.0
2.0 3.0
3.0 5.0
WPC=Whey protein concentrate; WPI=Whey protein isolate
Table.4 Application of whey proteins in dairy-based foods; Adapted from
(Mulvihill and Ennis, 2003)
Product
The benefit of whey products
Yogurt, cheese (Quarg, Ricotta)
Yield; nutritional, consistency, curd
cohesiveness
Cream cheese and cheese spreads,
sliceable/squeezable cheeses, cheese filling and
dips
Emulsifier, gelling, sensory properties
Soft drinks, fruit juices, powdered or frozen
orange beverages
Nutritional
Milk-based flavored beverages
Viscosity, colloidal stability
Ice cream, frozen desserts coating, frozen juice
bars
Skimmed milk solid replacement, whipping
properties, emulsifying properties, body and
texture
Table.5 The chemical and physiological properties of whey protein fractions and their relative
molecular weight. Adapted from (Whitney, 1988b; Zydney, 1998;
Hammam et al., 2017; Hammam, 2019a)
Whey protein
fractions
Concentration (g/L)
MW (kDa)
Isoelectric point (pI)
-Lactoglubilin
3.0 4.0
18.4
5.2
-Lactalbumin
0.7 1.5
14.2
4.7 5.1
Bovine serum
albumin
0.3 0.6
69
4.7 4.9
IgG, IgA, IgM
0.6 0.9
150 1000
5.5 8.3
Lactoperoxidase
0.006
89
9.6
Lactoferrin
0.05 0.35
78
8.0
Protease-peptone
0.5 1.0
4 20
Caseinomacropeptide
0.0 1.5
7
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
341
Solution of whey
protein and lactose
Casein
Fat globule
Hydrolyze
d lactose
Liquid whey
Condensed or
powdered
Lactose
Demineralize
d
Ultrafiltered
Permeat
e
WPC,WP
Edible
protein
Fermentation
products
Infant food
Browning
agent, sweet
syrups,
fermentation
substrate
Human food,
animal feed,
coatings
Figure.1 Milk contains fat globules and casein micelles colloidal in a solution of
whey protein and lactose
Figure.2 Liquid whey processing (Marwaha and Kennedy, 1988; Siso, 1996; Tunick, 2008b)
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
342
Bacteria
Fat
Casein micelle
Whey protein
Lactose
Minerals
Water
MF
UF
NF
RO
0.1-10 µm
(100 nm)
0.01-0.1 µm
(10 nm)
<0.001µm
(<1 nm)
0.001-0.01 µm
(1-10 nm)
Figure.3 Filtration spectrum and size of major components in milk
Therapeutic applications of whey proteins
Whey protein has a high amount of bioactive
components, including -lactalbumin, -
lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin,
immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, and
lactoperoxidase (Table 5). These proteins
have been used as ingredients in
pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and
cosmeceuticals applications (Pihlanto and
Korhonen, 2003; Etzel, 2004) due to their
bioactive characteristics (Korhonen and
Pihlanto, 2003). Many studies have been
reported that these bioactive peptides have
many health benefits, such as improving the
immune system (Mann et al., 2019),
inhibiting infections due to the antiviral
activity of lactoferrin (Drago-Serrano et al.,
2017; Hammam, 2019b), reducing oxidative
stress and human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV) infection (Gupta and Prakash, 2017),
anticancer activity (Patel, 2015; Hammam et
al., 2017), lessen anxiety (Yalcin, 2006),
assist with the reduction in blood pressure
(Fekete et al., 2018), positive effects on
hepatitis (Ng et al., 2015), reduce
cardiovascular risk (Pal et al., 2019), and
osteoporosis (Mangano et al., 2019).
Nutritional applications of whey protein
products
Whey protein products are widely used in
many applications, including infant formulas,
Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2020) 9(7): 337-345
343
dietetic foods, and animal feeds (Fitzsimons
et al., 2008). Polymerized whey protein,
which has different commercial names, such
as preheated whey protein, process whey
protein, heat-denatured whey proteins, or
denatured whey proteins (Vardhanabhuti et
al., 2001), has shown improved functional
properties, including gelatin agents, films
(Hammam, 2019a), thickness agents,
stabilizers, microencapsulation, and coatings
that are widely used to enhance the texture
and quality of several foods, such as sausages,
dairy products, desserts, bakery products, cold
sauces (Elofsson et al., 1997; Hammam,
2019a), beverages, bars, and fruits (Ferreira et
al., 2007).
Milk whey or whey protein has tremendous
therapeutic properties, including
antimicrobial, anticancer, anticarcinogenic
effects, immune-enhancer, prebiotic property,
anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive actions,
binding of toxins, cardiovascular, antioxidant
activity, gastro-intestinal health, physical
strength, obesity control and weight-
management, HIV, diabetes, anti-viral effects,
promotion of cell growth, platelet binding,
appetite suppression, ageing, and wound
healing. Several whey products are available
nowadays in the market, which can be utilized
as attractive health-promoting food
supplements.
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How to cite this article:
Mahmoud E. Ahmed, Ahmed M. Hamdy and Ahmed R. A. Hammam. 2020. Therapeutic
Benefits and Applications of Whey Protein. Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci. 9(07): 337-345.
doi: https://doi.org/10.20546/ijcmas.2020.907.036
... Peptides represent a functional food because they not only satisfy the nutritional needs, but also help to reduce the risk of health problems [80]. Whey represents 95% of milk weight so it is a good source of bioactive peptides that can be produced by hydrolysis by applying different methods: enzymatic action, chemical treatment (acid or alkaline), microbial fermentation with proteolytic bacteria, ultrasound, thermal process, and others ( Figure 1) [81,82]. gestive, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. ...
... Peptides represent a functional food because they not only satisfy the nutritional needs, but also help to reduce the risk of health problems [80]. Whey represents 95% of milk weight so it is a good source of bioactive peptides that can be produced by hydrolysis by applying different methods: enzymatic action, chemical treatment (acid or alkaline), microbial fermentation with proteolytic bacteria, ultrasound, thermal process, and others ( Figure 1) [81,82]. Hydrolysis of proteins by chemical processes using an alkaline or acidic media commonly using NaOH, KaOH, HCl at different concentrations is more difficult to control and generates hydrolysates with modified amino acids. ...
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