In this study, newly modified hydroxyapatite microbeads were used to isolate alpha-lactalbumin (alpha-LA) from cow's milk by a single step. Inorganic material, pure hydroxyapatite was embedded in ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) in the presence of pore maker. Newly synthesized hydroxyapatite microbeads were used firstly for adsorption of alpha-LA from aqueous solution. The maximum adsorption capacity of alpha-LA from aqueous solution was observed at pH 7.0 (10.0 mM phosphate buffer) at 25 degrees C in a batch system, in which parallel separate experiments were performed independently. Synthesized hydroxyapatite microbeads and pure hydroxyapatite were used for adsorption studies from whole milk (without pre-treatment such as fat and caseins removal). Our method is cheap, simple, efficient and rapid. The results showed that modified hydroxyapatite microbeads had selective affinity to alpha-LA because of good adsorption properties. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.