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Improvement of Thermal and Alternative Processes for Foods
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
The safety, economics and quality of processed food depend on the ability to tightly control the processing operation. This project focuses on the development of sensors technologies that can be used to measure the progress of the processing steps and predict endpoints.
2010 Project Description
Progress continued in the development of a light backscatter method for monitoring and controlling the syneresis process in cheese making. An infrared light backscatter method was validated to be a viable, repeatable and an alternative method for measuring total milk-clotting activity of rennets and milk coagulating enzymes.
A test was conducted for NASA to determine if radiation would affect the reactivity of an enzyme, chymax. No significant change in enzyme reactivity was found. It was determined that the monitoring and control of the syneresis process will require an additional backscatter light wavelength. Sensor design was initiated that would allow multiple backscatter responses to be measured with one sensor. An infrared light backscatter has been shown to allow the coagulation and syneresis steps in cheese making to be monitored and controlled as well as provide a technique for measuring total milk-clotting activity of rennets and milk coagulating enzymes.
This technology when fully developed will provide the cheese industry a method for monitoring and controlling the single most important steps in cheese making - coagulation and syneresis. The enzyme reactivity apparatus should provide the enzyme manufacturing and use industry an objective method of determining the reaction kinetics of enzymes on the specific products being utilized in the food production.