MADISON, WIS. – The Dairy Business Innovation Alliance (DBIA) shared that its new grants program will support research at the University of Wisconsin dealing with dairy processing byproducts.

Offering grants totaling $1.2 million to six research groups at the university, DBIA said the projects involve opportunities to convert dairy co-product streams into commercially feasible, value-added products.

The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), which partner to operate DBIA, noted that dairy processing byproducts are many, including whey, permeate, lactose acid whey and more. However, the organizations pointed out, such byproducts are considered low in value and often end up spread on land or dried for use as animal feed.

Per DBIA, it is funding research that will develop technologies that make better use of dairy co-products.

John Lucey, director of CDR, said the industry needs to accelerate innovation efforts to develop value-added uses for cheesemaking byproducts.

“These byproducts should be viewed as renewable feedstocks for the emerging green bioeconomy; each of the projects selected will try to scaleup or further develop their technology to bring them closer to commercialization,” Lucey said.

Added WCMA executive director John Umhoefer: “These cutting-edge projects represent enormous opportunity for our industry. We’re proud to partner with CDR, a global leader in dairy research, to help support dairy processors’ advancements in environmental sustainability.”

DBIA noted that the projects cover bacteriology, bioenergy, biological systems engineering, chemical and biological engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and food science. The six research projects will secure funding for up to three years and present updates on their progress via CDR industry research forums.

CDR plans to make more information regarding the funded projects available soon on its website.