Background: Whey is a valuable by-product obtained from cheese manufacture and employed as a
source of proteins that present remarkable potential in food or pharmaceutical industries. Although chromatography
is the common method to isolate whey proteins at preparative scale, it reports some disadvantages like
its high operational cost.
Objective: Membrane processes can play an important role in protein separation, as a consequence of the relatively
lower energy consumption, good yields and easy scalability. Important effort has been done on the development
of membrane chromatography as an innovative technique to obtain and isolate the different whey
proteins. Pressure-driven membrane processes have become standard unit operations in different applications
performed in the dairy industry. In this sense, membrane filtration can be applied for protein separation and
isolation under adequate conditions.
Conclusion: The application of an electrical field or the use of charged membranes combined with pressuredriven
membrane processes, provide good results and decrease undesirable phenomena such as concentration polarization
when compared to conventional membrane separations. This manuscript provides an overview of the
main membrane methods employed in the literature to carry out the separation and isolation of whey proteins.