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REVIEW: ISOLATION AND PURIFICATION OF MILK
WHEY GLYCOMACROPEPTIDE

LINDAMIR TOMCZAK TULLIO*
ELISA NOEMBERG LAZZARI KARKLE**
LYS MARY BILESKI CÂNDIDO***

The objective of this work was to review the isolation
and purification methods of glycomacropeptide
(GMP). This peptide is formed during enzymatic
coagulation of milk, using chymosin. Aspects such
as structure, composition, biologicalactivities and
functional and technological properties of GMP are
also covered. It was concluded that t he various
methods mentioned in this paper for GMP isolation
and purification use isolated or combined
processes, which can be classified in three
categories: selective precipitation induced by
adjustment of the physical properties of the solution;
membrane filtration based mainly ondifferent
membrane sizes and load, and selective adsorption.
Regarding the biological activities of GMP, this
peptide can be understood as a promising
compound, although additional research is
necessary in order to define quantities, efficacy and
to allow functionality claims. There is, however, little
information regarding GMP’s addition i n food,
interaction with other components andchemical
stability under different processing conditions.

KEY-WORDS: MILK WHEY; GLYCOMACROPEPTIDE; BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY.

*

Chemist, Master in Food Technology, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR), Curitiba, PR (e-mail:
linda@ufpr.br).
** Nutritionist, Master in Food Science, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Substitute Professor, UFPR,
Curitiba, PR.
*** Industrial Pharmacist, Doctor inFood Engineering, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Senior
Professor, UFPR, Curitiba PR.

B.CEPPA, Curitiba, n. 1, n. 1, jan./jun. 2007
B.CEPPA, Curitiba, v. 25, v. 25, p. 121-132, jan./jun. 2007

121

1 INTRODUCTION
Milk whey can be obtained in laboratory or industry mainly by three processes: (a) enzymatic
coagulation, resulting in casein coagulates, which are used for cheese andsweet whey production; (b)
acid precipitation at the isoelectric point, resulting in isoelectric casein, which is transformed into
caseinates and acid whey; and (c) physical separation of the casein micelle by microfiltration, originating
a micelle concentrate and whey proteins, in the form of protein isolate or concentrate (SGARBIERI,
2004).
The amount of whey generated from cheese productiondepends on the type of cheese produced
and on production process. For the production of one kg of cheese, 10 liters of milk are used and
depending on the water, there is a whey production that varies from 9 to 12 liters (RICHARDS, 1997).
Brazil ranks third place in world cheese producers, with 480 thousands of tons, behind only of the
European Union and the United States (ANUÁRIO…, 2005).
Wheyis not a polluting agent for itself, but when disposed in watercourses it causes great
polluting effects (PORTO, SANTOS & MIRANDA, 2005). According to RICHARDS (2002), when whey
is disposed without treatment it presents a high biological oxygen demand (BOD), of 30,000 to 50,000 mg
of oxygen per liter of whey. This value is approximately 100 times more than domestic sewage. An
industry with anaverage production of 10,000 liters of whey per day pollutes as much as a population
of 5,000 inhabitants.
Because it is an abundant byproduct of cheese industries, milk whey has great economical
interest as a protein source for the food industry. It offers a series of functional benefits in a number of
applications, such as solubility, viscosity, emulsification, gelification, among others.The main proteins in whey are α-lactalbumin, ß-lactoglobulin, immunoglobulin and
glycomacropeptide (GMP). In lesser amounts, but with important commercial applications are lactoferrin
and lactoperoxidase (DOULTANI, TURHAN & ETZEL, 2004).
GMP, found in sweet whey, is a biologically active compound liberated from k-casein by the
action of chymosin on the peptidic bond Phe105-Met106, during...
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