Plasmin-free dairy – Chromatographic technology for the removal of plasmin activity from dairy products

In this project, a new dairy unit operation, based on affinity chromatography will be developed for the removal of plasmin from milk

By: Grith Mortensen

The successful outcome of this project will enable the Danish dairy industry to improve the shelf-life, quality and functionality of dairy products, with specific focus on long-life liquid milk, casein concentrates/isolates and whey protein concentrates/isolates. The new dairy unit operation (based on affinity chromatography) for producing plasmin-free dairy products is highly innovative and has not been attempted previously.

Currently, heat-treatment is used for controlling plasmin activity in milk, which results in significant whey protein denaturation and off-favour development, both of which are highly undesirable in terms of product value, shelf-life and functionality. The new dairy unit operation developed here is expected to be a step change improvement due to its high selectivity and non-destructive nature. Affinity chromatography is a relatively mature technology in the biopharmaceutical industry and is readily transferrable to an ever increasingly sophisticated dairy industry.

The focus of this project will be to screen, design and develop affinity chromatography for the capture of plasmin (and its components) from milk. Pilot plant and subsequent industrial trials (long-life liquid milk products, casein and whey protein concentrates/isolates) will be performed in order to translate and apply the laboratory experiments into a “real-life” dairy manufacturing environment.

Project period: January 2018 - September 2021

Budget: 5.156.000 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund, University of Copenhagen, Arla Foods A/S

Project manager: Fergal P. Rattray

Institution: Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen

Participants: Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen and Arla Foods




Nurup, C.N.,Czárán, Tamás László and Rattray, Fergal P. (2020). A chromatographic approach to understanding the plasmin-plasminogen system in acid whey. International Dairy Journal,106,104705.DOI:10.1016/j.idairyj.2020.104705