The Use of Ozone in the Dairy Industry

 

The use of ozone in the dairy industry

 

All cultures consume dairy products. Unprocessed dairy products, however, can contain pathogenic microorganisms that cause illness in consumers.

Ozonation is a method of reducing the microorganisms that cause disease. Ozonation also limits the production of enzymes. There are various factors that affect the effectiveness of ozone such as pH and temperature. There have been studies done with the findings being that the reduction of microorganisms was greatest in milk samples with low-fat levels.

Ozone is both a cost-effective and eco-friendly method of food processing. Ozone removes milk residues and bio-film-forming bacteria from stainless steel equipment and surfaces as well as in milk processing – in fluid and powdered milk. Ozone prevents mold growth on cheese and assists in keeping airborne molds from affecting the cheese ripening process.

 

Benefits

Ozone is a very effective disinfectant, and it doesn’t leave a chemical residue on food or surfaces due to the fact that it autodecomposes very quickly to nonpoisonous products.

Ozone can be generated on-site which is a great cost saver for companies, reducing both transport and storage costs. Ozone generators consume a comparatively small amount of electricity so the running costs of an ozonation system is low.

 

Health and Safety

While high ozone levels (95mg/L) can be lethal to humans, exposure to low concentrations of ozone (0.1 mg/L) will generally only cause eye, throat, or nose irritation. Systems that detect high ozone levels are required to maintain the safety of the work environment in food processing plants.

 

Dairy Farms

There are various applications for ozone on a dairy farm due to it being an oxidizing agent against viruses, bacteria, molds, protozoa, and yeasts. Hot water and chemicals are normally used in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and milk-carrying pipelines. These consume a lot of energy and cleaning products. Using ozone reduces the costs of cleaning considerably.

Even the cows can be cleaned using ozone! If udders, teats, and hind legs are washed with ozonated water before milking, a lot of hygiene issues could easily be prevented. Ozone has been used to treat mastitis in cows – this is the most common disease in the dairy industry and the costliest.

In barns, low concentrations of ozone have been added to the air to destroy airborne pathogens.  It also gets rid of manure smell.

Milk

Thermal processes are used to treat raw milk, making it safe for consumption. However, heat can influence the nutritional value of milk as well as affect the smell and feel of it. Because of this, a method for the treatment of liquids using mild ozone was patented in 1985 by Sander. This minimized quality deterioration.

A study has been done to evaluate how efficient ozone is in getting rid of microbes in raw milk. It showed that ozonation alone wasn’t capable of getting rid of enough of a percentage of the microbiota. A Swedish company (Pastair 2014) therefore created a process where traditional pasteurization was done after a gentle ozonation process has taken place.

 

Wastewater

Water obviously plays a huge role in the running of a dairy farm. It is used for cooling, cleaning, and heating. There is a large amount of wastewater generated in the industry. Ozonation has been tested to see if ozone, or a combination of ozone and other methods, can be used to make the wastewater generated, reusable – at least some of it. The result of the tests was that ozone decreased the fat content of the water enough to allow the water to be let into the environment. More recent tests have found that ozone treatment could be a great method of lowering the concentrations of organic pollutants in used dairy water.

 

Conclusion – The Use of Ozone in the Dairy Industry

Using ozone in the dairy industry is a great cost saver as well as a very effective agent in reducing microorganism count. Ozone has been shown to extend the shelf life of dairy products.

While further study must be done, ozone has shown itself to be valuable in its use in the dairy industry.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1471-0307.12302

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030221010365