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A Novel Way for Whey: Cheese Whey Fermentation Produces an Effective and Environmentally-Safe Alternative to Chlorine

1
Plants for Health and Nutrition, Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food (LEAF), Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA), Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal
2
Eco-Novel Food and Feed, Agriculture and Food (LEAF), Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA), Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal
3
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Campo Grande, 376, 1749-024 Lisbon, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(14), 2800; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9142800
Received: 14 June 2019 / Revised: 9 July 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Novel Food and Feed)
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Abstract

Cheese whey has been described as an environmental hazard due to its high organic content. Although it has been suggested that whey can be used as food disinfectant, it continues to pose an environmental problem because it still contains a high organic load. Here, we aimed to develop a low-cost, scalable fermentation protocol to produce a disinfectant from dairy waste that has very little organic content and high levels of lactic acid. Fermentation was achieved with industrial whey from ewe, goat, and cow’s milk, using a specific mesophilic-lactic acid bacteria starter mix over 120 h, which yielded the highest lactic acid production and the lowest lactose content. Antibacterial activity was observed against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enterica, and Escherichia coli O157:H7, plus a total of thirteen other food pathogenic and spoilage strains, and antibacterial activities were determined to be highest after 120 h. We further validated this whey’s application as a disinfectant in shredded lettuce and compared its efficacy to that of chlorine, evaluating microbial quality, texture, color, and sensory perception, pH, and O2 and CO2 determinations. Results showed that not only was microbial quality better when using our whey solution (p < 0.05), but also the quality indicators for whey were statistically similar to those treated with chlorine. Hence, our work validates the use of an industrial waste whey as a low-cost, efficient, and environmentally safe disinfectant, with potential applications for minimally processed foodstuffs as an alternative to chlorine. View Full-Text
Keywords: fermented whey; antimicrobial; minimally processed vegetables; quality markers; sensory evaluation; disinfection; chlorine alternative fermented whey; antimicrobial; minimally processed vegetables; quality markers; sensory evaluation; disinfection; chlorine alternative
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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S. Santos, M.I.; Fradinho, P.; Martins, S.; G. Lima, A.I.; M. S. Boavida Ferreira, R.; Pedroso, L.; S. S. Ferreira, M.A.; Sousa, I. A Novel Way for Whey: Cheese Whey Fermentation Produces an Effective and Environmentally-Safe Alternative to Chlorine. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 2800.

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