Researchers from the University of Canterbury (UC) are developing a new bio-film in a bid to address the problem of bio-fouling by milk proteins.
The film can be used to coat stainless steel surfaces, which could save the food production sector of New Zealand a considerable fraction of the NZ$300m ($237m) annually it spends in cleaning and associated maintenance costs.
UC postgraduate student Neha Chandrasekaran said the main challenge faced by the dairy industry is the fouling on the stainless steel pipelines, equipment and heat exchangers that are used in milk processing facilities.
"Fouling of heat exchangers is a serious issue as it reduces heat transfer efficiency, causes contamination for the product and increases pressure drop and, hence, affects the economy of the processing plant," Chandrasekaran added.
The research is seeking to produce bio-film using synthetic mussel sequences that can also act as a solution to the problem of bio-fouling by milk proteins, specifically.