Food & Beverages

Membrane filtration is a technique that uses a physical barrier, a porous membrane or filter, to separate particles in a fluid. Particles are separated on the basis of their size and shape with the use of pressure and specially designed membranes with different pore sizes. Although there are different membrane filtration methods (reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration and microfiltration, in order of increasing pore size), all aim to separate or concentrate substances in a liquid.

In the food and beverage industries, membrane filtration is state-of-the-art technology for clarification, concentration, fractionation (separation of components), desalting and purification of a variety of beverages. It is also applied in improving the food safety of products while avoiding heat treatment. Some examples of final products using this technique are fruit and vegetable juices, like apple or carrot; cheeses like ricotta, ice cream, butter or some fermented milks; skimmed or low-lactose dairy products; micro-filtered milk; non-alcoholic beers, wines and ciders, etc.

Papain enzyme concentration

Papain, also known as papaya proteinase, is a cysteine protease enzyme found in papayas. Along with papain enzyme’s traditional use as a meat tenderizer, it has also been used in skin burn treatments. Papain has been used in traditional or alternate medicine for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties in treating bedsores, burns, skin ulcers, and wounds.

SepraTECH has developed technology to not only concentrate but also to remove salts and lower molecular weight impurities resulting in cleaner, wholesome and concentrated papain. Removal of water at ambient temperature with membrane technology saves almost 70-80% energy cost.

Juice concentration

Concentration with phase change of water is costly and detrimental to foods natural quality. Membrane technology is very energy efficient and can operate at ambient temperature and has great potential to explore in fruit juice concentration area over traditional evaporators. Inorganic or mineral ceramic membranes can prove great advantage to this process. Design of membrane and module plays pivotal role in process. Pressure, feed concentration, temperature and pH, and feed velocity are considered as major processing parameter.

With our membrane technology and expertise, one can save a lot on energy, time, foot print and cost to get a better quality and more concentrated fruit and vegetable juices.

Starch/Dextrose processing

Dextrose (glucose) is the primary feedstock for numerous products, including corn sweeteners, fuel ethanol and organic acids (e.g., lactic acid, acetic acid, citric acid). It is produced by enzyme hydrolysis of starch (e.g., from corn) or cellulose (e.g., from woody biomass).

As practiced today, the saccharification step has many limitations:

  • Slow: Reaction takes 30 - 72 hours
  • Large amounts of enzyme needed (enzymes are used only once per batch). Enzymes are the second-largest material cost in a corn refinery,
  • Large saccharification tanks are required
  • For sweeteners, the dextrose is clarified, usually by diatomaceous earth (DE) filtration. Disposal of DE is expensive and creates environmental problems. ​

Hence with the help of membrane technology we can separate out the dextrose, while the enzymes and unreacted or partially reacted starch is recycled back to the vessel for further reaction. ​

Our technology is a significant advancement with several advantages over today's process:

  • Enzyme cost reduced by 50-80%
  • Faster process: saccharification time has now been reduced to 5-10 hours. This allows 7-12 times more throughput for the same size reaction vessels.
  • Clear dextrose stream of high solids and high purity is produced (no suspended matter, proteins, fat or starch), thus reducing downstream processing costs.
  • No post-filtration or filter-aid such as DE or carbon is needed and thus there is no disposal cost or environmental problems. This feature is of special interest to sweetener manufacturers.
  • Capital costs for the membrane equipment. This will be balanced by the savings in saccharification vessels.
  • Operating costs for the membrane system, which include membrane replacement, membrane cleaning, additional power for recirculation of the process fluid and solids separation. Depending on the present process used and the process targets, the savings in enzymes alone could pay for this cost within one year.
  • Concentration of starch wash water
  • Clarification of corn syrups such as dextrose and fructose
  • Dextrose enrichment
  • De-pyrogenation of dextrose syrup

Coffee/tea extracts

Membrane technology can be utilised in removal of water from the extracts at ambient temperature thereby helping in saving of energy cost and volume generation for evaporation