Microscopic analysis and microstructural characterization of the organic and inorganic components of dairy fouling during the cleaning process

A.E. Guerrero-Navarro, A.G. Ríos-Castillo, C. Ripolles-Avila, X. Felipe, J.J. Rodríguez-Jerez

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This study evaluated the organic residues of milk fouling using fluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The inorganic content was analyzed with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, complemented with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. These techniques were applied to evaluate milk fouling cleanliness using an alkaline product and an enzymatic formulation based on protease and amylase. The results showed that the efficiency of enzymatic cleaning was 87.1% when it was evaluated at 55°C for 30 min, and with a medium of pH 8.5. No difference was found from the efficacy in eliminating dairy fouling observed for the chemical cleaning (86.9%). The fluorescence microscopy proved useful for determining the organic solid components in the outer layer of the dairy fouling. The fouling spatial disposition in 3 dimensions, obtained by confocal laser scanning microscopy, showed that it was formed of 51.3% sugars, 9.3% fats, and 39.4% proteins, with the enzymatic cleaning of these compounds being homogeneous, compared with chemical cleaning. The protein and lipid contents were in the surface layer, whereas sugars were located in the innermost part that contributes to the Maillard reaction during fouling formation. After enzymatic cleaning, the reduction in the concentration of Ca and P was 71.61 and 74.67%, respectively, compared with fouling intact. Thus, enzymatic cleaning, without the accumulation of Na from chemical cleaning, leaves 1.5 times less mineral than chemical cleaning. Knowing the content and structure of fouling in the industry helps to formulate better products to achieve proper levels of cleanliness. Additionally, studying the cleaning residues helps to avoid problems of cross-contamination between batches or subsequent microbial growths (biofilms) on surfaces with residues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2117-2127
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • cleaning process
  • component
  • enzymatic product
  • microscopy
  • milk fouling
  • Food Contamination
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Milk/chemistry
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Animals
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • Dairying
  • Female


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