Backscatter Analysis in Cheese Production
Scientists and food researchers have created a device that allows users to monitor the intricacies of cheese production. Using data collected while measuring backscattering of cheese using an Ocean Optics spectrometer and light source, the researchers have developed algorithms to predict the optimal cutting time, fermentation endpoint, whey fat losses, cheese yield and curd moisture of various cheeses…
Cheese-making has long been an art, but it is now becoming a science as well. The process of cutting coagulated milk in vats causes moisture to be released from the curd in the form of whey, and it is the size and moisture of that curd that plays a large role in determining the quality of the finished product. Monitoring the process of curd syneresis is difficult, however, as most methods are disruptive to the cheese-making process.
Researchers from University College, Dublin, Ireland; the University of Kentucky in Lexington, USA; and the Moorepark Food Research Center in Cork, Ireland, have developed an online Vis-NIR optical sensor to monitor various characteristics of the cheese-making process. This type of online monitoring of coagulation and syneresis, along with the application of special algorithms to the data, allows instant feedback, improving the consistency of curd moisture and texture from batch to batch.
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