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Single-droplet dryer helps experts predict dairy ingredient properties

Harsh Dahiya concentrates milk
For a project on high solids drying, graduate student Harsh Dahiya concentrates milk using  a lab-scale rotary evaporator.

Australia and South Dakota are on opposite sides of the world, but collaboration between South Dakota State University dairy scientists and chemical engineers in Australia will make developing new dairy ingredients with specific functional properties easier.

SDSU dairy researchers are using a bench-scale single-droplet spray dryer to determine the exact drying parameters for an ingredient with the desired functional properties.

Associate professor Cordelia Selomulya and her team at Monash University near Melbourne then utilizes the data on drying behavior of different materials to develop a computational fluid dynamics model to predict the range of drying parameters needed to produce a powder with those properties in a spray dryer.

“Our expertise is in manufacturing and functionality; theirs is in engineering and modeling,” said professor Lloyd Metzer, who leads the SDSU research team. “It’s an ideal collaboration because our areas of expertise are complimentary.”

The project was begun by former assistant professor Hasmukh Patel, who is now a senior principal scientist at Land O’Lakes in Minneapolis.

The SDSU portion of the three-year project, which began in 2014, is supported by a Dairy Management Inc. grant for more than $250,000. The research focuses on optimizing spray-drying conditions for milk powders and dairy ingredients, such as whole milk powder, whey and milk protein concentrates and isolates and infant formula. Doctoral student Hiral Vora and other SDSU dairy science staff are working on the project.

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