Conference paper

Engineering Aspects of Fluidized Bed Reactor Operation Applied to Lactose Treatment of Whole Whey

An interesting possibility for the use of lactoserum in human nutrition is the hydrolysis of lactose to glucose and galactose, sugars which exhibit a better digestibility, a higher solubility, and which have a greater sweetening power than lactose. The hydrolysis is catalyzed by an enzyme, the β-galactosidase which, due to its high price, must be used continuously, preferentially in immobilized form. The enzyme used for these studies has been immobilized on silica gel precoated with chitosan. When whole whey or partially deproteinized whey is treated, a fluidized bed reactor seems to be the most appropriate to circumvent problems with protein adsorption and reactor plugging. However the fluidization of fine particles with a small density difference between the solid and the liquid may give rise to stability problems. In order to prevent unstable operation of the fluidized bed, the reactor has been equipped with special internals. They impose a radial distribution of the liquid and the solid phase and increase the linear velocity required to achieve a given expansion by a factor of five. Besides the resulting high solids content, the back-mixing of the liquid decreasessignificantly when static mixer-packings are used.


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