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 UWC, Stellenbosch and SurePure Dairy Study Collaboration

Author: Institutional Advancement: (021) 959 2625

UWC's Biotechnology Department, Stellenbosch University's Department of Biotechnology, and SurePure Inc. have tested a new method of purifying milk for the manufacture of cheese that kills germs while preserving flavour.

Dairy Study underlines efficacy of patented photopurification technology

The University of the Western Cape's (UWC) Department of Biotechnology and the Stellenbosch University Department of Biochemistry have collaborated with SurePure, Inc., a global leader in liquid photopurification, on a new study detailing the effectiveness of a patented photopurification and HST thermal pasteurisation process.

The study, A Microbiological, Biochemical and Sensory Characterisation of Bovine Milk Treated by Heat and Ultraviolet (UV) Light for Manufacturing Cheddar Cheese, focused on cheddar cheese as a model cheese system, due to its popularity and consumption rate in leading world markets. The results indicated that the SurePure photopurification system could achieve equivalent microbial efficacy and thus equivalent food safety standards to traditional heat treatment of cheese milk. In addition, further quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the chemical, biochemical and sensory characteristics of raw and processed milk demonstrated no significant differences between cheeses produced using the SurePure photopurification and those using traditional thermal processes. No important protein changes or macronutrient degradation and no reduction of essential vitamins occurred.

The SurePure ultraviolet processing method involves the use of ultraviolet radiation (specifically UV-C) for the purposes of killing microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoa, yeasts, moulds and algae, and also viruses. The cellular DNA of microorganisms absorb UV-C at the appropriate wavelengths, damaging the DNA of exposed cells by causing thymine dimer (peptide bond) formation in the microorganism DNA, making them unable to replicate. Used in isolation or in combination with other processing technologies, the UV-C is harmless to consumers, leaving no residual effect.

And unlike thermal treatments, the UV treatment did not destroy milk enzymes that are essential for cheese texture and flavour, and that maintain the healthy properties of natural milk.

Guy Kebble, CEO of SurePure Inc, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Stellenbosch University and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, in this study which continues to demonstrate the untapped commercial potential of our patented photopurification technology in the food and beverage industry.”

SurePure​'s UV-C light-utilising Turbulator technology is a green alternative to pasteurisation and chemicals in purifying biologically sensitive liquids such as wine, fruit juice and milk. Designed to deliver food-grade solutions, it offers a high degree of microbiological efficacy and is effective for both clear and turbid liquids – a world first for UV-C purification.

SurePure's purification can not only enhance the safety of cheese against pathogenic organisms such as Listeria monocytogenes, but also extends the shelf-life of cheese milk and achieves a similar final quality of the product to those made from raw milk.

Further collaboration between SurePure, SU and UWC aims to continue investigating the manufacture of cheddar cheese from milk treated with a new generation of the SurePure system, focusing on the chemical and biochemical changes during cheese ripening, and on consumer acceptance.​


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