Amersham's technique, which is called CSS, is able to separate ingredients from milk which can be used for added-value products. This, the company claims, could create opportunities for dairy companies that currently make a low profit margin from milk production.
The company claims that its technology can accurately filter out some of the useful ingredients in milk which are currently used for animal feed or simply wasted. Some ingredients found in whey, such as lactoserum, have antibacterial properties which can be used to preserve foods, or are widely used in the fast-growing nutritional foods market. Amersham believes that this could substantially increase dairy producers' profit margins.
Rune Andersson, Amersham's project marketing director explained: "Some dairy companies are producing over half a million litres of whey daily, and using our filtration technique would allow to substantially increase the added value of this product."
Amersham said that it was in talks with dairy companies in New Zealand and Australia over the use of the filtration technique, and that it had also spoken to leading dairy producers in Europe, such as the German producer Campina.
The bioscience company believes its activity in the food and beverage sectors will increase substantially within the next 10 years, although Andersson pointed out that it had already taken the company three years to become established in the sector.
The biotech company has already struck an agreement with Russian brewing group Taranow, based in Kaliningrad, which will use the same separation technology to improve the quality of all 700,000 litres of beer it produces each day.
Andersson said that the Russian deal had given Amersham a foot in the door, and that it had served as a "reference place" for other brewers to assess the impact of the separation technology. The company is hoping for a similar landmark deal in the dairy sector.
The long-term benefits for Amersham of moving into the food and beverage arena are clear. "We are focusing on the food and beverage sectors because they constitute a huge market. Even though we are newcomers in this sector, we have a product which is already highly competitive, and there are other technologies we have developed with similarly innovative uses in the food and beverage sector," Andersson concluded.