To extend the shelf life and retain bioactive proteins in milk, this study utilized microfiltration (MF) combined with ultrasonication to treat skim milk and investigated its efficiency in removing bacteria and retaining bioactive proteins compared with HTST pasteurization and microfiltration alone. Results showed that microfiltration combined with ultrasonication at 1296 J/mL could completely remove the bacteria in skim milk. Ultrasonication further extended the shelf life (4 °C) of microfiltered skim milk, which could reach at least 40 days when MF was combined with ˃1296 J/mL ultrasonication. In addition, ELISA showed that HTST pasteurization significantly decreased the levels of IgG by ~30%, IgA by ~ 50%, IgM by ~60%, and lactoferrin by ~40%, whereas the activity of the enzymes lactoperoxidase and xanthine oxidase were also decreased by ~ 20%. Compared with HTST, MF alone or combined with ultrasonication retained these bioactive proteins to a larger degree. On the other hand, proteomics indicated both damage to casein micelle and fat globule structures in milk when ultrasonication at >1296 J/mL was applied, as shown by increases in caseins and milk fat globular proteins. Simultaneously, this ultrasound intensity also decreased levels of bioactive proteins, such as complement factors. Taken together, this study provided new insights that may help to implement this novel combination of non-thermal technologies for the dairy industry aimed at improving milk quality and functionality.
- Shelf life
- Skim milk