Australian scientists have altered the makeup of milk with high-frequency sound waves in a breakthrough that could potentially slash manufacturing costs and create new products.

The findings by a Melbourne-based team could deliver big savings for the industry and open new export markets.

Researchers have found that high-frequency sound waves can change the size and shape of molecules in milk and are investigating whether the technology can also change milk proteins.

Changing the structure of milk could substantially reduce the amount of fouling in the membrane filtration, for instance.