Smart solution for extraction of lactoferrin protein

Lactoferrin, a protein found in raw cow’s milk, has been of increasing interest to both the media and scientists in recent years due to its health benefits. Research has revealed that raw milk contains a higher proportion of lactoferrin than milk that has been processed. As a result, the food industry is very interested in solutions to recover this protein from the raw milk. Wafilin Systems has developed a smart, innovative membrane system to help extract this valuable protein.

Lactoferrin: a promising and multifunctional protein from cow’s milk

Lactoferrin is naturally present in human milk and also in very small quantities in cow’s milk. It is an important protein that contributes to immune system development in infants and young children. In order to approximate human milk more closely, it has been used to enrich infant formula based on cow’s milk for years now. Recently, there has been increasing interest in lactoferrin’s potential benefits to adults as well. Most of these claimed health benefits relate to the immune system. Lactoferrin boosts our immune response, protecting us against bacteria and viruses. Additionally, it may play a role in maintaining intestinal health and improving our bodies’ iron metabolism. Thanks to these promising health effects, many companies are eager to invest in separation methods such as membrane technologies to extract lactoferrin.

Lactoferrin extraction with membrane filtration

Research has revealed that raw milk contains more lactoferrin than milk that has been processed. Therefore, extracting lactoferrin from the milk right at the farm will produce a better yield per litre. Wafilin Systems has developed a system to concentrate the protein and extract it from the raw milk. Chromatography comes first. In this step, the milk passes through a column containing a resin with which to bind the lactoferrin. Next, the column is flushed with a saline solution to release the protein from the resin. Then the membrane system filters the saline solution containing the lactoferrin. Water is used to rinse away the salt (purification), followed by concentration of the lactoferrin. The final product is a pure lactoferrin suitable for further processing.

Two process steps in a single system

The Ultrafiltration (UF) system is suitable for both purification and concentration. An innovative, smart design makes this combined functionality possible. The system is flexible in its application and can be expanded depending on the scale of the process flow and the customer’s requirements. Using one system for both steps is financially advantageous, aimed at achieving the highest possible yield.

Are you interested in isolating valuable raw materials or nutrients from your products? We will be happy to help. Please do not hesitate to contact our account manager Gerbrand Siegersma at

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