Food Engineering Manager
Vijay Ganugapati is somewhat of a ‘Godfather’ of protein functionality globally – he took (and still takes) the solubility of MPCs forward in giant steps.
Vijay Ganugapati’s groundbreaking work in functional milk proteins has doubled the global market and secured future demand for New Zealand milk protein concentrates worldwide.

Ganugapati obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Queensland, Australia before taking up a post doctoral fellowship at Massey University to study Casein protein kinetics. He joined the then New Zealand Dairy Research Institute in Palmerston North in 1992, where he started working on the functionality of Milk Protein Concentrates.

While Milk Protein Concentrates have been commercially available since the 70s, until Ganugapati’s technological innovation, it was not possible to produce soluble milk protein concentrate. Traditional usage of milk protein concentrates was largely limited to cheese applications, and even then it was fraught with the issue of ‘cheese nuggets’; hard lumps which form in cheese as a result of undisolved protein particles. Ganugapati’s breakthrough came in 1998, when he discovered that he could increase the solubility of milk protein by changing its mineral environment without losing the nutritional value of the protein, and most importantly, without adding any chemicals. 

Thanks to this pioneering work, milk protein concentrates can now be added to a variety of foods to achieve a number of functions. In fact, Fonterra’s functional milk proteins are now used globally to increase cheese yields; improve the flavour and texture of cultured dairy products; reduce sodium content of processed cheese; increase the protein content of sports beverages to assist muscle recovery; and deliver essential protein nutrition in medical beverages that aid convalescence.   

While Ganugapati has been instrumental in developing this game-changing technology, he also credits the work of the wider team of scientists, engineers and technologists at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre and beyond, who have uncovered the multiple benefits of this technology and supported its successful commercialisation. To date, this ability to manipulate the construction of milk proteins is unique, and thanks to Ganugapati, Fonterra and New Zealand remain the leading source of functional milk proteins in the world.

Publications

Vijay Ganugapati has published over 30 publications.


Representative publications


Bhaskar G V (WO2008026940-A1; NZ549470-A; TW200824573-A; EP2068646-A1; AU2007289444-A1 TI) Method, useful to stabilize food/drink e.g. coffee creamer, yoghurt, soups, sauces, caramel, buttermilk, milk powders, ice-cream, chocolate and snack products, comprises adding calcium depleted milk protein concentrate to food/drink.


CUKSEY S D Q, ELSTON P D, BHASKAR G V, VAUTIER B A, LEE S K  (WO2005013710-A1; NZ527436-A; EP1659875-A1; AU2004263068-A1; BR200413383-A; MX2006001281-A1; CN1832687-A; US2007020371-A1; JP2007501611-W; KR2006057596-A TI) Production of protein composition for, e.g. cheese, by adding transglutaminase enzyme to dairy stream to form protein composition, and adjusting reaction conditions in the stream to coagulate casein in the protein composition.


BHASKAR G V,HAVEA P, ELSTON P (WO2004057971-A1; AU2003288836-A1; EP1583428-A1; BR200317760-A; MX2005006913-A1; NZ523394-A; JP2006512073-W; CN1731933-A; US2006159804-A1; KR2005113600-A TI) Manufacture of nugget-free cheese involves treating mixture of milk, water or other aqueous solutions and dried milk protein concentrate containing solids-non-fat milk protein with coagulating enzymes to produce curd, and processing curd. 


BHASKAR G V,CARR A, RAM S (WO200296208-A2; AU2002344204-A1; US2004208955-A1; NZ512098-A; JP2005506055-W; EP1553843-A2; EP1553843-B1; DE60220193-E; ES2287317-T3; DE60220193-T2; AU2002344204-B2 TI) Preparation of dried milk protein concentrate and milk protein isolate for use in cheese preparation, comprises adding monovalent salt to milk protein having preset protein to enhance solubility of product and drying.


BHASKAR G V, SMITH J F, MARSHALL A D, (WO9608155-A; EP788313-A; WO9608155-A1)  Adjusting ratio of whey protein to casein in skimmed milk supply - comprises micro-filtering stream of milk with membrane and e.g. processing retentate into dairy product comprising milk protein concentrate.

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