What Filtration CAN do
Filtration is used in food production processes to remove unwanted solid materials.
In the case of alcohol production it is desirable to remove solids before distillation
to reduce fouling of the boiler and condensing stages with “cooked on” debris.
Filtration can be done in multiple stages to remove finer and finer particles, until
the desired objectives have been met. When producing beverage alcohol the appearance
is important, and allowing particulates to remain would yield a cloudy appearing
liquid when customers expect something “crystal clear”. Other problems can result
from failure to remove particulates, including chemical degradation over time which
can cause off-flavors and objectionable discoloration.
How much can be removed by filtration?
That depends on the choices of filters employed. There are many different options,
but here are some examples:
The first stage of filtration removes the big pieces, and subsequent stages remove
progressively smaller pieces until you reach final filtration, which can remove
particles as small as 0.22 micro meters, or 220 nanometers. A small bacterium is
removed by the 0.22 µm pore size filter.
How effective is this at removing gluten protein fragments?
Visit the following website "Cellsalive"
and view the "How Big?" demonstration.
Click the increase magnification arrow until you see a length scale that says 200
nanaometers. These are still very large objects.
Egg albumin, a large protein has an approximate molecular mass of about 43 thousand.
That is a large number of amino acids. It has an effective molecular radius of 2.8
nanometers*, which is way smaller than the two hundred nanometers of the very best
filters you can employ for beverage production.
The result is that no matter how well you filter a fermented mash produced from
wheat, there will still be huge pieces of protein remaining in the visibly clear
liquid coming out of the filter.
* Ref: Walter F., PhD. Boron. Medical Physiology: A Cellular And Molecular Approaoch.
Elsevier/Saunders. ISBN 1-4160-2328-3. Page 761