Development of lactose-free milk using graphene oxide-based nanofiltration membranes

A close-up of the graphene oxide membrane that lactose and water permeate. Leaves fat, protein and macromolecules in milk.Credits: Aaron Morelos-Gomez, Shinshu University

For the past few years, graphene oxide membranes have been studied primarily for water desalination and dye separation. However, membranes have a wide range of uses, such as in the food industry. A research group led by Aaron Morelos-Gomez of the Global Aqua Innovation Center at Shinshu University investigated the application of graphene oxide membranes, which normally produce a dense contaminated layer on polymer membranes, into milk.

Graphene Oxide Membranes have the advantage of creating a porous pollutant layer. Therefore, their filtration performance can be maintained better than commercially available polymer membranes.Unique chemical and laminar flow structure Graphene Oxide film It was able to enhance lactose and water penetration while rejecting fats, proteins, and some minerals. Therefore, the texture, flavor, and nutritional value of milk were better preserved than commercially available polymer membranes.

The concentrations of lactose and lactose permeation flux were much higher than commercially available nanofiltration membranes due to the unique laminar flow structure of the porous pollutant layer and graphene oxide membrane. Irreversible fouling was improved by using a support film with a pore size of 1 μm for the graphene oxide film. This formed a porous fouling layer and increased the recovery rate of water flux after milk filtration.

Emphasizing its excellent antifouling properties, High selectivity In the case of lactose, this pioneering study shows the application of graphene oxide membranes to the food industry, especially the dairy industry. This method is nutritious because it is more likely to remove sugar from the beverage while preserving other ingredients.High antifouling property against abundant solutions organic matterMilk and the like are also ideal candidates for other applications such as wastewater treatment and medical applications. The group plans to continue exploring the applications of graphene oxide membranes.

An artistic representation of graphene oxide membranes for milk filtration.Credits: Aaron Morelos-Gomez, Shinshu University

This work is based on the group’s previous findings of creating a spray-coated graphene oxide film for desalination. Nature nanotechnology 12 (2017), 1083-1088. The membrane showed improved chemical stability by adding several layers of graphene and showed stable filtration performance after 5 days of operation. In addition, the vapor deposition method by spray coating is promising for expandability.


Graphene oxide membranes may exhibit a higher lactose permeation flux than commercially available high molecular weight membranes. Credits: A Morelos-Gomez et al. , carbon 181 (2021) 118-129

Target coating improves graphene oxide film for nanofiltration

For more information:
Aaron Morelos-Gomez et al, graphene oxide membrane for lactose-free milk, carbon (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.carbon.2021.05.005

Provided by Shinshu University

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