Mild process for dehydrated food-grade crude papain powder from papaya fresh pulp: Lab-scale and pilot plant experiments

Milena Lambri, Arianna Roda, Roberta Dordoni, Maria Daria Fumi, Dante Marco De Faveri

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

4 Citazioni (Scopus)


Proteases are protein digesting biocatalysts long time used in the food industry. Although many authors reported the crystallization of papain and chymopapain from papaya latex, the powder of crude papain had the largest application as food supplements due to its highly positive effect on the degradation of casein and whey proteins from cow's milk in the stomach of infants. As the industrial preparative procedures have not been extensively applied, this study aims at producing dehydrated crude papain from fresh papaya pulp, planning lab-scale trials, followed by process development toward the pilot industrial-scale. In the lab-scale experiments, the enzyme activity (EA), expressed as protease unit (PU) /g, were evaluated on pulp and papain standard before and after a 2 h thermal treatment at 70 °C, 90 °C, and 120 °C, and the thermal behavior was monitored by means of differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). The process development toward the pilot-scaling optimized: the homogenization of the fresh pulp, followed by its filtration at high pressure (HP) in order to obtain the vegetation water and the pre-dehydrated pulp which was then oven dried varying the time-temperature conditions (4 h-80 °C; 2 h-120 °C; 30 min-150 °C). Proceeding at higher temperatures for a shorter time allowed obtaining commodity-related and technologically valid products. In the final pilot-scale step, filtration was done with vertical HP filter press, and final dehydration was performed with 2-step turbo-drying: the first aimed to concentrate with 2 min air flow (500 m3/h) at 200 °C, the second aimed to dry with 10 min air flow (500 m3/h) at 120 °C. The resulting dehydrated pulp was grinded with ball-mill to obtain a stable powder. Starting from 90±2 % pulp moisture, the two turbo-drying steps lowered the water content from 75±4 % to 50±2 % and from 50±2 % to 8±1 %, respectively. The enzyme release from the final powder highlighted an EA of the food-grade crude papain powder extract of 28 PU/g. The thermal steps provided with turbo-driers permitted to maintain a fraction of sugars and pectin acting as a protective structure, so increasing the digestion effects provided by papain. Vegetation waters were ultra-filtered allowing at obtaining a concentrated pectin suspension and rich in nutrient waters which can be reused along the food chain. Further efforts should be made to implement this procedure as potential alternative for the dehydrated crude papain production, deepening the impact of process variables on this matter.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)7-12
Numero di pagine6
RivistaChemical Engineering Transactions
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • Air
  • Differential scanning calorimetry
  • Drying
  • Enzyme activity
  • Experiments
  • Pilot plants
  • Proteins
  • Suspensions (fluids)
  • Vegetation
  • Water content
  • Water filtration


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