Valorization of the Buttermilk Protein

Project entitled:

Co-denaturation of Whey and Buttermilk – Principles and Applications

Yves Pouliot, Michel Britten, Sylvie Gauthier


This project is part of a series of studies to increase the value of buttermilk solids. It is known that incorporating buttermilk into rennet-type curds reduces their firmness and slows their rate of formation. Our previous work has shown that these effects are modulated by heat treatments applied during buttermilk production. We hypothesized that thermal co-denaturation of buttermilk and whey proteins may lead to the formation of complexes of which it may be possible to control the humidity. These complexes could improve not only the sensory properties of dairy products, but also, through their bioactive molecule contents, their potential as a health food.

The goal of this project is to develop new functional protein complexes by optimizing the interactions between whey proteins and buttermilk constituents. The project’s objectives are to: 1) characterize heat-induced interactions between whey proteins and buttermilk constituents; 2) assess the performance of protein complexes in cheese creation and in a yogourt-type acidic gel model; and 3) assess the health potential of the protein complexes following their gastrointestinal digestion.