Cheese is one of the most demanded dairy products worldwide. However, during the conversion of milk to cheese, about 10 liters of milk are employed and about 9 liters of whey are generated for each 1 kg of cheese produced. The whey has traditionally been used for animal feed and as starting material for obtaining whey proteins. Furthermore, whey has the significant values of BOD and COD, becoming the most important contaminant in the dairy industry. For this reason, further growth of cheese sector is being limited by the surplus of whey as a by-product of the production of the cheeses. One of the many possibilities offered by the whey is its use as a starting material to produce many biotech products with a higher added value. The kefiran is a degradable biopolymer and is formed by galactose and glucose units, in almost similar proportions, which have been found with numerous benefits for human health. It is produced by a consortium of acid-lactic bacteria and yeasts, which coexist within the kefir granules, which are able to grow and multiply using the lactose present in the whey. The objective of the present study is to establish a small-scale process that allows the obtaining of kefiran.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Biochemical Engineering