Acid whey, a byproduct of Greek yogurt production, has little commercial value due to its low protein content and is also environmentally harmful when disposed of as waste. However, as a product of microbial fermentation, acid whey could be a rich source of beneficial metabolites associated with fermented foods. This study increases understanding of acid whey composition by providing a complete metabolomic profile of acid whey. Commercial and lab-made Greek yogurts, prepared with three different bacterial culture combinations, were evaluated. Samples of unfermented yogurt mix and cultured whey from each batch were analyzed. Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry metabolomics were employed to separate and identify 477 metabolites, including many with potential health benefits similar to those provided by yogurt, such as creatine and acetylcarnitine. Examples of other metabolites identified in the acid whey include beneficial phospholipids (1,2-dilinoleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine) and sphingolipids; compounds with neuroprotective (glycerophosphorylcholine) or cardiovascular (betaine) benefits; antimicrobial compounds (benzoic acid), and anti-inflammatory compounds (citrulline). Compared to uncultured controls, acid whey showed decreases in some metabolites associated with microbial metabolism and increases in others. Metabolite production was significantly affected by combinations of culturing organisms, and production location. Differences between lab-made and commercial samples could be caused by different starting ingredients, or environmental factors or both.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Allen, Muriel Mercedes, "Metabolomics of Acid Whey Derived from Greek Yogurt" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 9301.
metabolomics, acid whey, Greek yogurt, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, bioactive, health