Milk Processing Laboratory

Milk Processing Laboratory

About Our Facility

The state-of-the-art Milk Processing Laboratory enables the scale-up of bench-top research to the transitional pilot plant stage before it can be implemented commercially. The Milk Processing Lab boasts a highly flexible design with all equipment mounted on wheels. This flexibility and the variety of equipment enables the exploration of a wide range of research concepts. 

Thus far the Milk Processing Lab has been crucial in research efforts including isolating and testing bioactive milk compounds via safe and environmentally friendly methods before implementing them as functional food ingredients, studying dairy fluid processing, investigating the fermentation of lactose and monosaccharides, performing stability testing, preparing samples for clinical studies, and formulating novel dairy ingredients and products.

Funding for the equipment installation was provided by gifts from many donors, including 
Peter J. Shields Chair in the Dairy Food Science Endowment, Hilmar Cheese Company, California Dairies, Inc., Dairy Council of California, Dairy Institute of California, Pentair and additional equipment was purchased thanks to grants obtained from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Ongoing Research and Applications

As an example of our ground-breaking research, we utilize the Milk Processing Lab’s equipment to generate novel milk fractions composed of complex carbohydrates, glycoproteins, peptides, and lipids from various dairy streams to be studied and used as bioactive ingredients to improve human health.

The recovery of bioactive compounds from food matrices or byproducts is commonly accomplished through the development and optimization of processing strategies involving membrane filtration (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration), and targeted hydrolysis to either improve the separation/purification of desired molecules or to improve their functional and biological properties. In addition, fermentation strategies from lab-scale (250 mL-2L flask-shake) to pilot-scale (~200L) are commonly exploited in the MPL as an strategy to remove unwanted compounds and to produce added value compounds (i.e., conversion of dairy streams into fungal oil and protein).

Available Equipment

In line with our LEED Platinum certification and dedication to sustainability, all of the Milk Processing Lab’s instruments consume minimal amounts of energy and water. Our equipment is also designed to reach steady-state quickly and produce little waste.

We are equipped to conduct thermal processing, enzymatic reactions, fermentations, membrane filtration, desalination, clean packaging, and other areas of research in addition to standard dairy processes including fat separation, pasteurization, homogenization, and packaging. 

Additionally, all our Microthermics equipment is certified as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). An NRTL is an organization that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has recognized as meeting the legal requirements in 29 CFR 1910.7. In brief, these requirements include the capability, control programs, complete independence, and reporting and complaint handling procedures to test and certify specific types of products for workplace safety. This means, in part, that an organization must have the necessary capability both as a product safety testing laboratory and as a product certification body to receive OSHA recognition as an NRTL.

 For more information on the Milk Processing Lab, our research, and how we work with industry partners, please visit If you are interested in working with us, please contact Dr. Daniela Barile ( or Dr. Juliana Bell (

Equipment List

Raw Milk Receiving Tanks
Heat Exchanger
Cream Centrifugal Separator
Pasteurizer/UHT Unit
Filler with Automatic Fill Control
Membrane Filtration System
High-Performance Desalination Unit

Equipment list, pics and specs for the FST Milk Processing Lab