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A Critical Review of Milk Fouling in Heat Exchangers

Bipan Bansal and Xiao Dong Chen

ABSTRACT CT: exchangers problem dairy industry ever year It ery ear. ABSTRACT: Fouling of heat exchangers is a problem in the dairy industry and costs billions of dollars ever y year. It has been studied extensively by researchers around the world, and a large number of studies are reported in the literature. This review focuses on the mechanisms of milk fouling, investigating the role of protein denaturation and aggregation endeavor review have well transfer ansfer. as well as mass transfer. We also endeavor to review the effect of a number of factors which have been classified into 5 categories: quality, operating conditions, character acteristics exchangers changers, presence categories: (1) milk quality, (2) operating conditions, (3) type and characteristics of heat exchangers, (4) presence of microorganisms, and (5) transfer of location where fouling takes place. Different aspects have been discussed with the view of possible industrial applications and future direction for research. It may not be possible to alter the properties of milk since they are dependent on the source, collection schedule, season, and many other factors. Lowering the surface temperature and increasing the flow velocity tend to reduce fouling. Reducing the heat transfer surface roughness and wettability is likely to lower the tendency of the proteins to adsorb onto the surface. The use of newer technologies like microwave heating and ohmic heating is gaining momentum because these result in lower fouling; presence microor oorganisms creates problem. however further resear er, esearch requir equired realiz ealize however, further research is required to realize their full potential. The presence of microorganisms creates problem. The situation gets worse when the microorganisms get released into the process stream. The location where fouling takes place is of paramount importance because controlling fouling within the heat exchanger may yield little benefit in case fouling starts taking place elsewhere in the plant.

Thermal processing is an energy-intensive process in the dairy industry because every product is heated at least once (de Jong 1997). Processing of billions of liters of milk every year in countries such as India, the United States, and New Zealand means the efficiency of the heating process is of paramount importance (FCG 2004). Fouling of heat exchangers is an issue because it reduces heat transfer efficiency and increases pressure drop and hence affects the economy of a processing plant (Toyoda and others 1994; Müller-Steinhagen 1993). As a result of fouling, there is a possibility of deterioration in product quality because the process fluid cannot be heated up to the required temperature (for pasteurization or sterilization). Also the deposits dislodged by the flowing fluid can cause contamination. Fouling-related costs are additional energy, lost productivity, additional equipment, manpower, chemicals, and environmental impact (Gillham and others 2000). Generally, milk fouling is so rapid that heat exchangers need to be cleaned every day to maintain production capability and efficiency and meet strict hygiene standards. In comparison, the heat exchangers in other major
MS 20050437 Submitted 7/20/05, Revised 9/15/05, Accepted 1/3/06. The authors are with Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Univ. of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Fonterra Cooperative Group Limited, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Direct inquiries to author Bansal (E-mail: or Chen (E-mail:

processing plants such as petroleum, petrochemical, and so forth need to be cleaned only once or twice a year. According to Georgiadis and others (1998), in the dairy industry the cost due to the interruption in production can be dominant compared with the cost due to reduction in performance efficiency. Along with the cost, quality issues are equally important, and in fact many times a shutdown is required due to concerns of product quality/contamination instead of the performance of a heat exchanger. According to van Asselt and others (2005), about 80% of the total production costs in the dairy industry can be attributed to fouling and cleaning of the process equipment. In this study, we endeavored to review a wide range of articles reported in literature and interpret the given information on fouling in heat exchangers. The aim was to generate some new interest in this field and to elaborate on some possible new direction for research. It is not intended at all to suggest that this article proposes the only way to understand the problem.

Mechanisms of Milk Fouling
Milk is a complicated biological fluid and contains a number of species. Its average composition is given in Table 1. Thermal responses of the constituents generally differ from each other. Milk fouling can be classified into 2 categories known as type A and type B (Burton 1968; Lund and Bixby 1975; Changani and others 1997; Visser and Jeurnink 1997). Type A (protein) fouling takes

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denatured proteins also took part in deposit formation. Chen (2000). 5. 15% to 20% proteins. Activation energies of deposition reactions for both types of heat exchangers are reported to be similar. Toyoda and others (1994). In some cases. Wahlgren and Arnebrant 1990. and Chen and others (1998a) suggested that the protein unfolding or denaturation step is reversible COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY—Vol. Belmar-Beiny and Fryer (1993) analyzed the deposits with contact heating times down to 4 s and observed that the 1st layer was made of proteinaceous material. Usually an induction period is required for the formation of the protein aggregates or insoluble mineral complexes before noticeable amount of deposits are formed (Elofsson and others 1996. and Fryer and Belmar-Beiny (1991). it is not clear whether fouling is primarily caused by the aggregated proteins or the denatured proteins deposit 1st on the heat-transfer surfaces and the aggregation takes place subsequently. compact. Foster and others (1989). and Bansal and others (2005) in their mathematical modeling considered that along with aggregated proteins.8 3.4 4. being larger in size. Denaturation of native proteins in heat exchangers starts only at temperatures above 70 °C to 74 °C (Fryer and Belmar-Beiny 1991).6 0. the native proteins ( -Lg) 1st denature (unfold) and expose the core containing reactive sulphydryl groups. According to Changani and others (1997). According to Toyoda and others (1994). The rate of fouling may be different for the denatured and aggregated proteins. Belmar-Beiny and others (1993) and Schreier and Fryer (1995) proposed that fouling was dependent on the bulk and surface reactions and not on the mass transfer. Chen and others (1998a. Toyoda and others (1994) modeled the milk fouling process based on the assumption that only aggregated proteins resulted in fouling. Caseins are resistant to thermal processing but do precipitate upon acidification (Fox 1989. mainly proteins form the 1st deposit layer. 2006 . and 4% to 8% fat. This time pe28 riod varies between 1 and 60 min for tubular heat exchangers (de Jong 1997) but is much shorter or even instantaneous in plate heat exchangers where intense mixing of fluid takes place due to higher turbulence (Belmar-Beiny and others 1993). The deposit layer is subjected to fluid hydrodynamic forces and as a result there is possible re-entrainment or removal of the deposits. Gotham and others 1992. a relationship between the denaturation of native -Lg and fouling of heat exchangers has been established (Dalgleish 1990). 2000. Lalande and others 1985. Visser and Jeurnink 1997). 30% to 40% minerals.4 2. de Wit and Swinkles (1980). In contrast. van Asselt and others (2005) believe that -Lg aggregates are not involved in fouling reactions. This is caused by the diffusion of minerals through the deposits to the surface rather than minerals forming 1st on the surface (Belmar-Beiny and others 1993). The denatured or unfolded protein molecules then react with the similar or other types of protein molecules such as casein and -La and form aggregates (Jeurnink and de Kruif 1993).12 place at temperatures between 75 °C and 110 °C. according to Tissier and Lalande (1986). Changani and others (1997). de Jong and others (1992). and Bansal and others (2005) considered that fouling is dependent on mass transfer as well as bulk and surface reactions. Visser and Jeurnink 1997. Bylund 1995). and Kessler and Beyer (1991). The step controlling the overall fouling may either be related to physical/chemical changes in the proteins or the mass transfer of the proteins between the fluid and the heat-transfer surface. and their composition is 70% to 80% minerals (mainly calcium phosphate). Sahoo and others (2005) and Nema and Datta (2005) used a similar concept in their fouling model. Whey proteins constitute only about 5% of the milk solids. which suggests that the underlying processes are same in both cases (Fryer and Belmar-Beiny 1991). -Lactoglobulin ( -Lg) and -lactalbumin ( -La) are the 2 major whey proteins. fouling is controlled by the aggregation reaction of proteins. 2001). proteinaceous layer. high-mineral-containing sublayer forms 1st and is followed by a more spongy. a dense. According to Delplace and others (1997). On the other hand. Chen 2000). Upon heating of milk. Then surface reactions take place. fouling occurs when the aggregation takes place next to the heated surfaces. Delplace and others (1994) experimentally observed that only 3. and spongy (milk film). The native proteins may attach on the heat transfer surface at low temperatures (even at room temperature) with coverage of about 2 mg/m2 but this does not result in any further deposition (Arnebrant and others 1987. Analysis of deposits after fouling for an extended period usually shows that the deposits near the surface contain a higher proportion of minerals. Fouling in a heat exchanger depends on bulk and surface processes. Jeurnink and others 1996b). resulting in incorporation of the proteins into the deposit layer.9 3. but they account for more than 50% of the fouling deposits in type A fouling. de Jong and others (1992) found that the deposition of milk constituents in heat exchangers is reaction-controlled adsorption of denatured proteins.8 0. Georgiadis and others (1998). Bansal and Chen (2005). The 1st stage involves denaturation and aggregation of proteins in the bulk followed by the transport of the aggregated proteins to the heat-transfer surface. 2000. Anema and McKenna (1996). de Jong and others 1998). Georgiadis and Macchietto (2000). Also. Delplace and others (1997) believed that the formation of aggregates reduces fouling and that mixing can be used to promote aggregation and hence control fouling. Although the exact mechanisms and reactions between different milk components are not yet fully understood. and their composition is 50% to 70% proteins. Arnebrant and others (1987). Delplace and others 1994. The deposition is a result of a number of stages (Belmar-Beiny and Fryer 1993). Bansal and Chen (2005). 2001). According to Lalande and others (1985). The deposits are white.6% of the denatured -Lg was involved in deposit formation. soft. Type B (mineral) fouling takes place at temperatures above 110 °C. The deposits are hard. the transport of the aggregated proteins from the bulk to the heat transfer surfaces may be more difficult compared with the denatured proteins (Treybal 1981. Hege and Kessler (1986). granular in structure. Lalande and others (1985) found this figure to be about 5%. de Jong and others (1992) found that the formation of protein aggregates reduces fouling. and gray in color (milk stone). However. According to Delsing and Hiddink (1983) and Visser and Jeurnink (1997).5 13 3. It was also proposed that the fouling rate was independent of the concentration of foulant in the liquid (Schreier and Fryer 1995). It has high heat sensitivity and hence figures prominently in the fouling process (Lyster 1970. Chen and others (1998a. and 4% to 8% fat. Lalande and René (1988) and Gotham and others (1992) observed that protein aggregation is the governing reaction. only aggregated proteins present in thermal boundary layer are able to cause deposition.CRFSFS: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety Table 1—Average composition of milk (Bylund 1995) Constituents Water Total solids Proteins Lactose Minerals Fat Proteins Casein -Lactoglobulin ( -Lg) -Lactalbumin ( -La) Average concentration (%) 87. it may be a combination of both. and Grijspeerdt and others (2004) observed that the fouling process was reactioncontrolled and was not limited by mass transfer. but the dominant protein in heat-induced fouling is only -Lg. de Jong and van der Linden (1992). protein denaturation is the governing reaction.32 0. 1991.

The addition of calcium ions enhances deposition and there is a greater amount of caseins present in the deposits. 2001). Prolonged storage of milk for a few days may enhance fouling due to the action of proteolytic enzymes (Burton 1968. Factors Affecting Milk Fouling Fouling depends on various parameters such as heat transfer method. storage at a lower temperature of 2 °C for more than 14 d has been found to have no significant impact on fouling (Lewis and Heppell 2000). Nema and Datta (2005) Toyoda and others (1994). A slight increase in pH has been observed to increase processing time (Skudder and others 1986). suggesting an increased instability of casein micelles (Delsing and Hiddink 1983. de Jong and others 1998). for cold surface–hot fluid scenario. Anema and McKenna (1996). heat transfer surface characteristics. Visser and Jeurnink 1997). Daufin and others 1987. decreasing the pH is found to increase the amount of fat within the deposits (Lewis and Heppell 2000). Bansal and others (2005) whereas Ruegg and others (1977). However. Delplace and others (1994. Xiong 1992. However. 1997). type and characteristics of heat exchangers. de Jong and others (1992) Lalande and René (1988). van Asselt and others (2005) Toyoda and others (1994) de Jong and van del Linden (1992). Bansal and Chen (2005). different combinations of unfolded and aggregated proteins lead to similar accuracy of the fouling predictions. hydraulic and thermal conditions. de Jong 1997). its impact on the heat stability of milk depends on the source and level of calcium fortification (Vyas and Tong 2004). In comparison. Hence. Additives may reduce fouling by enhancing the heat stability of milk but may not be permitted in many countries (Lyster 1970. Arnebrant and others (1987). However. however. The effect of pH on fouling is not straightforward. Delplace and others (1997). Grandison 1988. Georgiadis and others (1998). 2001). there is a need for further study of the cold surface effect. Arnebrat and others (1987). A decrease in pH will also result in an increase in concentration of ionic calcium. and enhance the deposition by forming bridges between the proteins adsorbed on the heat transfer surface and aggregates formed in the bulk (Xiong 1992. Chen and others (1998a) Lalande and others (1985). Gotham and others (1992). In general. Grijspeerdt and others (2004). The fat present in milk has little effect on fouling (Foster and others 1989. According to Jeurnink and de Kruif (1995). These factors can be broadly classified into 5 major categories: milk composition. Corredig and Dalgleish 1996. both increasing as well as decreasing the calcium content of milk compared with normal milk results in lower heat stability and hence more fouling. Hege and Kessler (1986). possibly due to the dissolution of calcium phosphate from casein micelle and its increased solubility (Lewis and Heppell 2000). 2006—COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY . and location of fouling. Lewis and Heppell 2000). the heat stability of milk proteins decreases with a reduction in pH (Foster and others 1989. Changani and others 1997.Milk fouling in heat exchangers . The enrichment of milk with calcium salts is gaining interest to achieve higher calcium intake per serving. a cold surface is not expected to promote aggregation to the extent that a hot surface would do. although further aging increases fouling (Burton 1968. Anema and McKenna (1996). aggregated proteins would have a lesser tendency to deposit on a surface compared with denatured proteins due to their relatively compact structure and perhaps a cold surface would not provide any further assistance. Reconstituted milk gives much less fouling because about 25% of -Lg is denatured during the production of milk powders 29 Vol. Table 2—Important aspects of fouling mechanisms Aspects Protein denaturation is reversible Protein denaturation is irreversible Protein aggregation is irreversible Protein denaturation is the governing reaction Protein aggregation is the governing reaction Formation of protein aggregates enable to reduce fouling Only protein aggregates cause fouling Fouling is considered to depend on protein reactions only Fouling is considered to depend on protein reactions as well as mass transfer References de Wit and Swinkles (1980). the protein aggregation step has been reported to be always irreversible (Mulvihill and Donovan 1987. 2001) show that for hot surface–cold fluid scenario. Lalande and others (1985). In general. Delplace and others (1997) de Jong and others (1992). Holding milk for up to 24 h at 4 °C before processing results in less fouling. Kessler 2002). and Roefs and de Kruif (1994). Changani and others 1997. Gotham and others (1992). Milk composition The composition of milk depends on its source and hence may not be possible to change. The simulated results of Chen (2000) and Chen and others (2000. operating conditions in heat exchangers. Lactose is not involved in the fouling process as such until it is involved in the Maillard reaction at a high temperature (Visser and others 1997). de Jong and others (1992). In addition. Georgiadis and Macchietto (2000). A seasonal variation in milk fouling is attributed to differences in its composition (Burton 1967. Christian and others 2002). and Bansal and others (2005) suggested that fouling is caused by both denatured and aggregated proteins and perhaps primarily influenced by the presence of the denatured proteins in the bulk. Changani and others 1997. Schreier and Fryer (1995). the solubility of calcium phosphate decreases with heating. presence of microorganisms. Sahoo and others (2005). . different mechanisms lead to different predictions. Changani and others (1997). Arnebrant and others (1987). Chen (2000). de Jong 1997. Gotham and others (1992). Chen and others (2000. Chen and others (1998a. Bansal and Chen (2005). and Chen and others 1998a). BelmarBeiny and others 1993. Roef and de Kruif (1994). Changani and others 1997. de Jong and others 1998). Changani and others (1997). and type and quality of milk along with its processing history. de Jong 1997). Belmar-Beiny and others (1993). and Karlsson and others (1996) have found evidence that the denaturation step is irreversible. promote aggregation by attaching to -Lg. Karlsson and others (1996) Mulvihill and Donovan (1987). Also. 2000. 5. Kessler and Beyer (1991). Anema and McKenna 1996. Changani and others 1997). . Increasing the protein concentration results in higher fouling (Toyoda and others 1994. Skudder and others 1981. Chen and others (1998a) Ruegg and others (1977). The calcium ions present in milk influence the denaturation temperature of -Lg. Table 2 summarizes important aspects of the fouling mechanisms mentioned above. Lalande and others (1985).

In contrast. enhanced fouling when the bulk fluid was also hot enough for the protein reactions to take place. presence of active sites. Chen and others (2001) predicted that mixing caused by in-line mixers can reduce fouling substantially. Also. which would result in less fouling (Changani and others 1997). the thickness and subsequently the volume of laminar sublayer decrease with increasing velocity and as a result. 2004. de Jong 1997. Operating conditions in heat exchangers perature was the most important factor in initiating fouling. Rosmaninho and Melo 2006). Higher turbulence and different flow characteristics are in fact found to result in a smaller induction period in plate heat exchangers compared with tubular heat exchangers (Belmar-Beiny and others 1993). The presence of air in milk enhances fouling (Burton 1968. Newstead and others (1998) found that Ultra High Temperature (UHT) fouling rates of the recombined milk increased with increasing preheat treatment (preheating temperature × preheating time). The concentration of calcium is reported to be 9% less in the reconstituted milk. the nature of fouling changes from type A to type B (Burton 1968). However. The use of pulsatile flow exchanger results in higher mass transfer that may enhance fouling in case the deposition process is mass trans- COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY—Vol. fouling is enhanced only when the air bubbles are formed on the heat-transfer surface. and whey protein and found that the surface tem30 Plate heat exchangers are used commonly in the dairy industry because they offer advantages of superior heat-transfer performance. expansion vessels. velocity/turbulence. de Jong and others 1998). surface charge. surface microstructure (roughness and other irregularities). skim milk. lower temperature gradient. The pulsations. Beuf and others 2003. residual materials from previous processing conditions. The use of co-current and counter-current flow passages within the same heat exchanger further complicates the problem. the amount of foulant depositing on the heat-transfer surface decreases. Ramachandra and others 2005. The main effect of forewarming is the denaturation of -Lg and its association with casein micelle and hence a reduction in the amount of type A deposits. the formation of air bubbles is enhanced by mechanical forces induced by valves. Also. There has been an increasing use of heat exchangers that foul comparatively less. Beyond 110 °C. Also. The solubility of air in milk decreases with heating as well as a reduction in the pressure (de Jong 1997. plate heat exchangers are prone to fouling because of their narrow flow channels (Delplace and others 1994) and contact points between adjacent plates (Belmar-Beiny and others 1993). 5. the adhesion of deposits with a rough surface would be comparatively stronger. Complex hydraulic and thermal characteristics in plate heat exchangers make it very difficult to analyze milk fouling. Fouling decreases with increasing turbulence (Belmar-Beiny and others 1993. Stainless steel is the standard material used for surfaces that are in contact with milk. The effect of different surface coatings tends to be less on the deposit formation but more on their adhesion strength (Britten and others 1988). Increasing the surface roughness provides a larger effective surface area and results in a higher effective surface energy than a smooth surface (Yoon and Lund 1994). higher turbulence. The fouling deposits also had high levels of fat (up to 60% or more) compared with the deposits formed during fresh milk processing (10% or less). Higher flow velocities also promote deposit re-entrainment through increased fluid shear stresses (Rakes and others 1986). no fouling was observed. which then tend to migrate faster toward the heated wall. Increasing the temperature results in higher fouling. there is no reported evidence (Lewis and Heppell 2000). The surface treatment can be of great benefit in case fouling occurs after a time delay and the strength of the adhesion of the deposits onto the metal surfaces is weaker. Preheating of milk (often termed forewarming) causes denaturation and aggregation of proteins before the heating section. and compactness over tubular heat exchangers. 1991). simply due to the fact that the temperature of the heat-transfer surface needs to be considerably higher than the bulk temperature to have efficient heat transfer. there is a reduction in the availability of ionic calcium with preheating as calcium phosphate gets attached to casein micelle (Lewis and Heppell 2000). Factors that may affect fouling of a stainless-steel surface are presence of a chromium oxide or passive layer. It influences the adhesion of microorganisms as well (Flint and others 2000). Corredig and Dalgleish 1996. and heat exchangers equipped with turbulence promoters (Gough and Rogers 1987). Although it is usually reported that the presence of a deaerator will reduce fouling. which then act as nuclei for deposit formation (Burton 1968. fluidized bed heat exchangers (Klaren 2003). Belmar-Beiny and others 1993. The reason was that the fluid spent less time near the wall due to higher mixing. The difference is attributed to changes in fat globule membranes. however. Rosmaninho and others 2003. Chen and Bala (1998) investigated the effect of surface and bulk temperatures on fouling of whole milk. However. Type and characteristics of heat exchangers Important operating parameters that can be varied in a heat exchanger are air content. According to Paterson and Fryer (1988) and Changani and others (1997). Santos and others 2001. Magnetic field treatment has been observed to have no effect on the milk fouling rate (Yoon and Lund 1994). and wettability (Yoon and Lund 1994. The fouling rate was enhanced and the argument was that the damage to the membranes results in the fat globules to coalesce. Temperature of milk in a heat exchanger is probably the single most important factor controlling fouling (Burton 1968. Mottar and Moermans 1988. Kessler and Beyer 1991. Modifications of the heat-transfer surface characteristics through electro-polishing and surface coatings can reduce fouling by altering the surface roughness. Santos and others 2003). Burton 1968. de Jong and others 1998). 2006 . ease of maintenance.CRFSFS: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (Changani and others 1997. It is generally reported that hydrophobic surfaces adsorb more protein than hydrophilic surfaces (Wahlgren and Arnebrant 1991). The reason for this may be the presence of low-velocity zones near the contact points between the adjacent plates. Santos and others 2003). giving way to an easier cleaning process. However. milk fouling in a heat exchanger is difficult to completely eliminate. Visser and Jeurnink 1997). surface energy. Visser and Jeurnink 1997). Elofsson and others 1996. Pie linger-Schweiger 2001. and type of stainless steel used (Jeurnink and others 1996a. When the surface temperature was less than 68 °C. The heat-transfer surface to which the deposits stick affects fouling (Wahlgren and Arnebrant 1990. 2005. for example. Delplace and others (1997) observed that significant variations in Reynolds number and average boundary layer thickness had no effect on the fouling rate. Toyoda and others 1994. Helixchanger heat exchangers (Master and others 2003). charge. Jeurnink and others 1996b. Fung and others (1998) studied the effect of the damage to milk fat globule membrane by a cavitating pump on fouling of whole milk. This means that it is feasible to have fouling in coolers where the wall temperature is lower than the bulk temperature. which then leads to lower fouling in heat exchangers (Bell and Sanders 1944. de Jong 1997). It is worth mentioning that both the absolute temperature and temperature difference are important for fouling. Foster and others 1989). and temperature. The surface characteristics are generally important only until the surface gets covered with the deposits. As a result. even though the bulk temperature was up to 84 °C. The use of pulsatile flow was found to mitigate fouling when only the wall region near the heat-transfer surface was hot enough to cause the protein denaturation and aggregation reactions (Bradley and Fryer 1992). the information available about their use in thermal processing of dairy fluids is limited. and free-falling streams (de Jong 1997).

It also has an advantage over microwave processing where processing can be limited by the depth to which energy can penetrate the food material (Fryer and others 1993). 2004a. Ltd. At this temperature. In recent years. Induction heating produces high local temperatures very quickly. A higher temperature of 85 °C is required to kill the remaining vegetative cells. however. Spores are much more heat-resistant and remain active well beyond this temperature. Cooling may be used to reduce the temperatures of electrode surfaces that would help control fouling. the deposit/fluid interface temperature increases with deposit formation. type and design of heat exchanger. when the deposits start attaching to the electrode surfaces. better quality. The installation of an additional section at a constant temperature (holding section) within the cascade of heat exchangers is also known to reduce fouling (de Jong and others 1992. 5. Furthermore. they contaminate downstream sections. The release pattern of thermophilic bacteria Bacillus stearothermophilus into the process stream has been studied in detail by Chen and others (1998b) and Yoo and Chen (2002). A number of studies have been reported on heat treatment of milk using microwaves. 2005a. Kindle and others 1996. An example of such a strategy is the preheating of milk before the heating section as mentioned previously (Bell and Sanders 1944. Bansal and others (2005) and Bansal and Chen (2005) studied skim milk fouling in a concentric cylinder ohmic heater and also developed a mathematical model to simulate the fouling process. Sieber and others 1996. This may also result in microbial growth in areas that otherwise are not conducive to bio-fouling. bio-fouling takes place through 2 different mechanisms: deposition of microorganisms directly on the heat-transfer surfaces of the heat exchanger. APV Intl. In induction heating. However. 2004b. due to its own electrical resistance. When microorganisms get released into the process fluid due to hydrodynamic forces. Furthermore. The use of an efficient technology may help to mitigate fouling within a heat exchanger. It is worth mentioning here that a lot of processes in the dairy industry are carried out at temperatures below 100 °C. the limited lifespan of a microwave system can raise doubts over its economic viability. The presence of microorganisms in the process stream and/or deposit layer not only affects the product quality. the processed milk at the exit of the heat exchanger would still have a lot of denatured and aggregated proteins. There are 2 other issues that may be important in an ohmic heating process. The direct injection of hot air/nitrogen has been found to give satisfactory performance in concentrating milk through evaporation of water (Zaida and others 1987). This technique offers the potential of thermal processing of materials without relying on an inefficient mechanism such as conduction of heat from a surface into the fluid. either microorganism deposition or biofilm formation. Ohmic heating or direct resistance heating is a heat-treatment process in which an electrical current is passed through milk. only the pathogenic bacteria along with some vegetative cells are killed. Hence. but these are based on general quality issues such as nutrients and microorganisms instead of fouling (Thompson and Thompson 1990. de Jong and van der Linden 1992. Location of fouling Protein denaturation and aggregation reactions take place as soon as milk is heated. may not be desirable. in a heat exchanger raises serious quality concerns. however. energy saving. These methods result in a low fouling rate because the desired temperatures are achieved within a very short time due to high heating rates (de Jong 1997). and less space requirement over conventional heating methods (Metaxas and Meredith 1988). 2006—COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY . and deposition/attachment/entrapment of microorganisms on/in the deposit layer forming on the heat-transfer surfaces. Mottar and Moermans 1988. Bansal and others 2005). In conventional indirect heating methods. In contrast. some heat is generated in the deposit layer as well. . highly viscous fluids can be handled more easily (de Jong and others 1998). microorganisms multiply. Burton 1968. Flint and coworkers have investigated the effect of bio-fouling in dairy manufacturing plants (Flint and Hartley 1996. Direct heating methods such as steam injection and steam infusion allow an optimal selectivity between desired (nutritional value) and undesired (surviving microorganisms) product transformations (de Jong and others 1998). such as shell and tube or plate heat exchangers. Bansal and Chen 2005. The resistance heating technique was used for milk pasteurization in the early 20th century (de Alwis and Fryer 1990). heat is generated by placing the food material inside an electric coil. pasteurization is generally achieved by heating milk at 72 °C for 15 s in a continuous flow system. Ayadi and others (2003. Also. This induces a current in the food material and heats it up. The reason for this is that apart from the bulk fluid. However. it influences the fouling process as well (Flint and others 1997. 1994. Flint and others 1997. controlling fouling only within the heat exchanger may not yield effective results and an overall strategy is required to mitigate fouling over the entire setup (Petermeier and others 2002. Hence. The use of a fluid bed heat exchanger has been found to reduce the amount of fouling and enhance the rate of heat transfer (Bradley and Fryer 1992). ensuring their growth. Grijspeerdt and others 2004).Milk fouling in heat exchangers . According to Bott (1993). (England) developed commercial ohmic heating units for continuous sterilization of food products (Skudder and Biss 1997). this technology has been in use again after being abandoned for a major part of the 20th century. This would result in severe fouling at various locations further downstream. but it may also promote fouling as the foulant is transferred easily from the bulk to the surface. This outcome is attributed to the fact that denatured -Lg is transformed into aggregated -Lg in the holding section. Foster and others 1989). successful mitigation of fouling depends on controlling local thermal and hydraulic conditions as 31 Vol. 1999. For example. Villamiel and others 1996). The absence of heat-transfer surface in such cases is also an advantage. Yoo and others 2005). With the supply of nutrients by the deposits. Bio-fouling. A high-frequency alternating current is passed through the coil. less fouling should take place. Microwave heating has been used in numerous industrial applications for several years due to its advantages such as faster throughput. Surface temperatures are lower in ohmic heating because heat is generated in the bulk fluid. This aggregated form is inactive and is unable to form aggregates with other components of milk and hence does not play an active role in the fouling process in the downstream sections (de Jong and van der Linden 1992). Presence of microorganisms The formation of deposits promotes the adhesion of microorganisms to heat-transfer surface. the deposits provide nutrients to microorganisms. resulting in bio-fouling. de Jong 1997). but its use has been limited to the materials industry only. The resulting dilution. the temperature profile changes dramatically (Ayadi and others 2004b. Their inactivation is important for the products with longer shelf life. which further promotes fouling (Bansal and others 2005). The relative amounts of denatured and aggregated proteins depend on a number of factors such as operating conditions. 2005b) have investigated the performance of a plate-type ohmic heater for thermal treatment of dairy products. the deposit formation lowers the deposit/fluid interface temperature. fer controlled (Bradley and Fryer 1992). and properties of heat transfer surface. . and heat is generated within milk to achieve pasteurization/sterilization (Quarini 1995). Better mixing of the fluid may be required to overcome the wall effect and result in uniform heating. which creates an electromagnetic field. this layer also restricts the outward flow of heat from the bulk fluid. Hence. 2000). 1999.

Hiddink J. Leuliet JC. Jesus College. de Jong P. Sweden: Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB. the relative impact of the denatured and aggregated proteins on the deposit formation is not clear. A reaction engineering approach to the analysis of fouling by whey proteins of a six-channel-per-pass plate heat exchanger. Bylund G.: p 25–32. 1967.fonterra. Brooks JD. Pritchard AM. New York. Investigation of the influences of surface and bulk temperatures upon fouling of milk components onto a stainless steel probe. New York. Modelling whey protein based fouling of heat exchangers—further examining the deposition mechanisms. fluid rheology and deposit presence on the electrode surface temperature. 1980. the information available about these technologies is limited. Luxembourg. Jesus College. Puebla City. and academia are required to combat this serious problem. can be controlled and mitigated by selecting appropriate thermal and hydraulic conditions. 2005. skim milk and whey.A.A. Bremer PJ. 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