Proteins, the keystones of life, are the most complex substances known. Thousands of different proteins go into the makeup of a living cell, performing thousands of different acts in the exact sequence that causes the cell to live. Proteins are composed of small organic compounds called amino acids. Many amino acids are linked together side-by-side to form a long protein chain.

Why is protein important?
Protein constitutes three-fourths of our body tissue (excluding water). Muscles, organs, anti-bodies, enzymes, and some hormones are largely composed of proteins. Other key body functions include tissue repair, fluid balance, blood clotting, and vision.

What is protein?
Protein is not a single substance but numerous chemical combinations. The basic structure of protein is amino acid chains which can form many different configurations and combine with other substances. There have been 22 amino acids identified in the protein of the human body. Proteins are constantly broken down in the body.

The body reuses most of these but some need to be replaced. There are nine that are considered to be essential. These amino acids are generally regarded as essential for humans: phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, histidine, leucine, and lysine. They cannot be synthesized by the human body and must be supplied by the diet.

Why spray dry protein?

  • Spray dried products are successfully handled in fully automated processing lines resulting in very homogeneous end-product properties.
  • Spray dried products are readily tailor made to meet required product specifications ensur-ing standardised end-product properties.
  • Spray dried products are ready for use.
  • Correct spray dried products have no additives for preventing decomposition at storage.

Important supplementary protein sources are:

  • Animal protein, including egg white 
  • Vegetable protein, including soy protein 
  • Yeast extracts 
  • Protein hydrolyse 
  • Peptone 
  • Lysine 
  • Amino Acids 
  • Glutamic acid 
  • Nucleic acid

The required product property dictates the spray drying principle. GEA Niro has supplied conventional spray dryersFluidized Spray Dryer FSD™, and FILTERMAT™ spray dryers to satisfy a huge variety of product properties. Hundreds of these dryers are today in operation world-wide.

Animal protein and vegetable protein
The spray drying process enables the removal of nearly all the water from pre-treated heat sensitive biological products such as animal and vegetable protein without affecting (actually enhancing) the valuable constituents.

By atomizing the liquid into a very small spray of droplets and dispersing it into hot air, water evaporation is virtually instantaneous, thus maintaining the product temperature well below levels that could cause heat damage and deterioration of the valuable constituents. Fine particle dust-free products are normally dried in conventional dryers or in multi-stage dryers that produce a slightly agglomerated powder properties.

Protein hydrolyse, peptone, yeast extracts, monosodium glutamic acid
The above products can be made into various important foods ingredients or flavourings by different fractionation, hydrolyse or enzymatic processing. Normally these ingredients can be spray dried on conventional spray dryers resulting in fine particle products or multi-stage dryers to produce coarse and slightly aggl omerated products.

However, many of the above proteins exhibit sticky and thermoplastic behaviour during spray drying which results in heavy deposits in the drying chamber. The use of a FILTERMAT™ dryer gives stable powders with good functional properties.

Lysine, amino acids, nucleic acid
These complicated proteins are polymers of amino acids. Each amino acid has a similar, yet unique structure composed of an amino-carboxyl group and an alpha carbon molecule with a different side chain (or radical group). Normally these ingredients can be spray dried in conventional spray dryers resulting in fine particle products or Fluidized Spray Dryer FSD™ to produce coarse and agglomerated products.

However, many of the above proteins exhibit sticky and thermoplastic behaviour during spray drying with heavy deposits in the drying chamber as a result. The use of a FILTERMAT™ dryer gives stable powders with good functional properties.

For production facilities where odor is an issue, GEA Niro recommends different odor-removing equipment depending on the environmental requirements. For moderate odor removal requirements, GEA Niro recommends an exhaust air scrubber. For conservative odor removal requirements, we recommend an exhaust air scrubber in a semi-closed cycle where part of the exhaust air is incinerated and the rest is being washed.