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Rheological behavior of concentrated skim milk dispersions as affected by physicochemical conditions: change in pH and CaCl2 addition

Olivares, María Laura, Achkar, Natalia Patricia, Zorrilla, Susana Elizabeth
Dairy science & technology 2016 v.96 no.4 pp. 525-538
calcium, calcium chloride, casein, dispersions, drying, energy, evaporation, gels, micelles, models, pH, skim milk, viscosity
Understanding the behavior of casein micelles (CM) in concentrated regimes is critical for the design of dairy unit operations such as drying or evaporation but also it is still scarce. In this work, the effect of the decrease in pH and the addition of a calcium salt on concentrated skim milk dispersions was examined by rheometric measurements at 25 °C. Control samples (S1), samples with a pH of 5.8 (S2), and samples with 0.04 M CaCl₂ addition (S3) at different concentrations (40, 45, 48, 50, and 52% w/w) were analyzed through flow curves and oscillatory dynamic data by frequency sweep tests. All samples showed a clear shear thinning non-Newtonian behavior and a large dependence on concentration, dispersions being more fluid for samples S2 and S3. A viscosity model for microgels was used to obtain parameters related to the characteristic structure of systems. It was demonstrated that CM had a similar structure for the different physicochemical systems studied and that the decrease of pH and the addition of salt reduced the dispersion stability due to electrostatic and steric potential energy is depleted. Dynamic data showed that dispersions at the highest concentration had dominant and similar elastic behavior and weak gel character. A transition regime from fluid to gel was observed in samples S2 at 45% w/w. No samples obeyed the Cox-Merz rule. This study allowed gaining more understanding related to the structure of CM systems studied.