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In-line NIR sensors combined with advanced chemometrics to rapidly monitor dairy composition for smart milk processing

The Irish dairy industry is one of the largest sectors in the agri-food area in Ireland. After removal of milk quotas in 2015, Ireland is expecting to increase 50% of total milk production by 2020. The increase in global demand for dairy products is also driving Irish dairy processors to become more competitive and the streamline process to be more efficient. This project NIR4Dairy will utilise state-of-the-art in-line NIR sensors for rapid measurement of key dairy components (i.e. protein, total solids, lactose) during the production of milk protein concentrate, providing real-time compositional information to improve process efficiencies, optimise the use of dairy materials and to produce a consistent final product. The project NIR4Dairy links the expertise of University of Córdoba (Spain) and Teagasc (Moorepark Food Research Centre) with Ireland’s leading dairy company (Glanbia Ireland) to address the challenges that can occur when integrating the in-line NIR sensors into dairy manufacturing (i.e. process vibration, sample temperature, flow conditions). A robust model will be developed to predict dairy composition. The model will be further optimized and validated from laboratory to pilot to industry scale. Successful completion of this project will make significant advancements in the area of NIR application and dairy processing.

Project Duration: 36 months

  • Outgoing Phase (18M) - University of Córdoba, Spain
  • Secondment to Industry (6M) - Glanbia, Ireland
  • Return Phase (18M) - Teagasc, Ireland

Collaborating Institutions:

  • Teagasc, Ireland
  • University of Córdoba, Spain
  • Glanbia (Industry), Ireland

Project Team: 

  • RL2025 Fellow - Dr Yuanyuan Pu
  • Teagasc Supervisor - Dr Norah O’Shea, Teagasc, Ireland
  • Outgoing Phase Host Supervisor - Prof Dr Ana Garrido-Varo, University of Córdoba, Spain
  • Secondment Supervisor - Dr Joseph Tierney, Glanbia, Ireland

Download the Project Factsheet

RL2025_NIR4Dairy Factsheet (pdf)