Environmental Engineering Department, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
TUBITAK Marmara Research Center Environment and Cleaner Production Institute, Kocaeli, Turkey
Ceramic membranes have been used in different dairy industry processing owing to their food compatibility, high stability to temperature and pH, and high fractionation efficiency. This work aims to optimize the performance of ceramic ultrafiltration membrane for acidic whey processing based on the filtration temperature and module configuration. Disc and tubular membrane modules were used with a ceramic membrane 15 kDa molecular weight cut-off and at whey temperature of 40 °C and 50 °C for both modules. The filtration performance was evaluated with normalized flux and membrane fouling index model. The end-product quality was monitored by analyzing protein, lactose, antibiotics, hormones, and heavy metals. It was found that the module configuration has a great effect on flux behavior and membrane fouling. The tubular module shows better performance with regard to normalized flux and membrane fouling index. However, at a higher temperature, the membrane fouling was higher with the disc membrane module and lower with the tubular one. In terms of end-product quality, the whey temperature is affecting protein and lactose concentration while the module configuration did not show a significant effect. Antibiotics, hormones, and heavy metals were found in concentrations that do not affect human health.