The development of the dry milk industry apparently stems from the days of Marco Polo in the thirteenth century. Reports are that Marco Polo encountered "sun dried milk" on his journeys through Mongolia and that from this beginning dry milk products evolved.

Through early pioneering scientists, such as Nicholas Appert and Gail Borden, basic processing methods were developed for drying milk products. Martin Ekenberg and Lewis Merrill have been acknowledged as developers of the first commercial roller- and spray-process drying systems, respectively, in the United States.

Since the initial development of commercial drying systems, significant technological advances have been made resulting in such widely recognized and used dry milk products as nonfat dry milk, dry whole milk, and dry buttermilk, which may be manufactured by roller- or spray-dryers (now mostly by the latter) or by more unique processes such as foam or freeze drying. These same dry milk products also may be processed in such a manner as to make them readily soluble and thus "instantized."

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