The Influence of Bleaching Agent and Temperature on Bleaching Efficacy and Volatile Components of Fluid Whey and Whey Retentate



Fluid whey or retentate are often bleached to remove residual annatto Cheddar cheese colorant, and this process causes off-flavors in dried whey proteins. This study determined the impact of temperature and bleaching agent on bleaching efficacy and volatile components in fluid whey and fluid whey retentate. Freshly manufactured liquid whey (6.7% solids) or concentrated whey protein (retentate) (12% solids, 80% protein) were bleached using benzoyl peroxide (BP) at 100 mg/kg (w/w) or hydrogen peroxide (HP) at 250 mg/kg (w/w) at 5 °C for 16 h or 50 °CC for 1 h. Unbleached controls were subjected to a similar temperature profile. The experiment was replicated three times. Annatto destruction (bleaching efficacy) among treatments was compared, and volatile compounds were extracted and separated using solid phase microextraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME GC-MS). Bleaching efficacy of BP was higher than HP (P < 0.05) for fluid whey at both 5 and 50 °C. HP bleaching efficacy was increased in retentate compared to liquid whey (P < 0.05). In whey retentate, there was no difference between bleaching with HP or BP at 50 or 5 °C (P > 0.05). Retentate bleached with HP at either temperature had higher relative abundances of pentanal, hexanal, heptanal, and octanal than BP bleached retentate (P < 0.05). Liquid wheys generally had lower concentrations of selected volatiles compared to retentates. These results suggest that the highest bleaching efficacy (within the parameters evaluated) in liquid whey is achieved using BP at 5 or 50 °C and at 50 °C with HP or BP in whey protein retentate.

Practical Application

Benzoyl peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are the two chemical bleaching agents approved for bleaching whey in the United States. Previous studies have shown less norbixin destruction and increased off-flavor production using HP compared to BP in liquid whey. No published studies have compared bleaching parameters of liquid whey and whey retentate. BP is an effective bleaching agent in fluid whey or retentate at 5 or 50 °C. In contrast, optimal bleaching with HP occurs in whey protein retentate (12% solids, 80% protein). Decreased production of lipid oxidation volatiles occurred at 5 °C compared to 50 °C with HP bleaching and suggests that HP bleaching in whey protein retentate should occur at colder temperatures (5 °C).