To achieve long term stability and usability many dairy-based products and ingredients are dehydrated to powder form. Protein is the most valuable functional component of the majority of dry milk powders whose stability is important not only during their conversion to powder form but also during subsequent storage. Dry milk protein systems include milk and high protein milk powders (such as milk protein concentrates and isolate, and whey protein concentrates and isolates). The stability of proteins is related mainly to the maintenance of their primary and secondary structures. It is expected that when dairy powders are rehydrated in water the proteins should regain their original state (prior to drying). In reality, these powders exhibit a gradual loss of solubility and functionality of the milk protein component. This has been an important area of investigations in the past, but more has to be done since the problem persists. Furthermore, the issue is becoming more pertinent while developing new dairy powders such as high protein milk powders whose stability is very critical. It is important that the issue be dealt with a new approach, not only to understand the factors responsible, but also the molecular mechanism involved in such changes in milk proteins in dry state.

The project, in collaboration with the Dairy Innovation Australia Ltd (DIA) addresses this issue by taking a novel molecular and material science approach by employing cutting-edge analytical tools such as NMR, FTIR, XPS and DSC and investigating various interacting factors and physical changes occurring in the dairy powder systems during processing and storage.

In a second project, also sponsored by DIA and the ARC, we are investigating innovative approaches to improving lifetime of dairy powders through the addition of nanoparticles "spacer" materials.


  • Dr Martin Palmer, DIA
  • Prof Bhesh Bhandari, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, UQ
  • Prof Mike Gidley, QAAFI, UQ
  • Dr Nidhi Bansal, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, UQ

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