A method for the inline measurement of milk gel firmness using an optical sensor

O. Arango*, M. Castillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


At present, selection of cutting time during cheesemaking is made based on subjective methods, which has effects on product homogeneity and has prevented complete automation of cheesemaking. In this work, a new method for inline monitoring of curd firmness is presented. The method consisted of developing a model that correlates the backscatter ratio of near infrared light during milk coagulation with the rheological storage modulus. The model was developed through a factorial design with 2 factors: protein concentration (3.4 and 5.1%) and coagulation temperature (30 and 40°C). Each treatment was replicated 3 times; the model was calibrated with the first replicate and validated using the remaining 2 replicates. The coagulation process was simultaneously monitored using an optical sensor and small-amplitude oscillatory rheology. The model was calibrated and successfully validated at the different protein concentrations and coagulation temperatures studied, predicting the evolution of storage modulus during milk coagulation with coefficient of determination values >0.998 and standard error of prediction values <3.4 Pa. The results demonstrated that the proposed method allows inline monitoring of curd firming in cheesemaking and cutting the curd at a proper firmness to each type of cheese.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3910-3917
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • cheese making
  • cutting time
  • gel firmness
  • milk coagulation

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