Development of whey protein-lignin based film/coating materials for dairy food packaging

PI: Youngmi Kim


Kim is an assistant professor of agricultural engineering technology at UW–River Falls with research interests in food process engineering, renewable energy, and bioprocess engineering. She received her PhD from Purdue University.

Whey, a major by-product from dairy processing, is considered a promising source for biodegradable film and coating materials to replace plastics in food packaging. However, low strength and poor water barrier properties of whey protein-based films are major challenges that limit their industrial use. This project will use lignin, a natural plant polymer, to improve whey-protein film. The research team will also define how the film can be used in large-scale processing facilities. Grace Lewis is collaborating on this project and equipment from UW–River Falls and UW–Madison will be use to measure characteristics of the films.