Is Making Yogurt Similar to Processing Wastewater?

Lab Note #7
Feb 04, 2015

It may be surprising to hear, but they are indeed very similar. Although they both start with drastically different materials (dairy versus sewerage) they both use bioprocessing and both end with consumable products...I've never met a treatment plant operator who has drank the final processed water, but the goal at most, if not all, wastewater treatment plants is for the released water to be safe for consumption.

According to Wikipedia (is there a more trusted site on the internet?) Bioprocess engineering "deals with the design and development of equipment and processes for the manufacturing of products such as food, feed, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, chemicals, and polymers and paper from biological materials & treatment of waste water" What ties yogurt to wastewater treatment is the use of bacterial populations to process the materials in question and the need to keep these populations healthy.

If you've watched the video on my project page this image may look familiar as the aeration tank where the microbes are activated via oxygen addition and consume and breakdown the waste in the water being processed. *If you haven't watched my video head to project page and check it out!*

In a similar process, below are yogurt fermentation tanks where bacteria ferment the sugars in milk.

In any bioprocessing reaction a viral contaminant can be disastrous to the entire process. In yogurt processing this can delay the fermentation process and produce an inferior product, or can result in the need to dispose of the entire tank of product! This can be extremely costly and therefore bioprocessing facilities continually research ways to prevent and stop contamination. My research will provide information on how fast a viral genotype can sweep through a population and how stable any viral populations may be and as such could benefit multiple industries!

Please check out my project page to learn more and to find out how you can support this exciting research!

*Yogurt tanks:

Please wait...