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Use of shear wave elastography for monitoring enzymatic milk coagulation

Budelli, E., Bernal, M., Lema, P., Fink, M., Negreira, C., Tanter, M., Gennisson, J.L.
Journal of food engineering 2014 v.136 pp. 73-79
cheesemaking, cheeses, coagulum, cutting, dairy industry, firmness, manufacturing, milk, monitoring, viscoelasticity
In the manufacturing of cheese, the cutting of the curd is an essential step which depends on the firmness of the curds and significantly affects the yield of the cheese and its quality. In this work, we present a technique to measure elastic properties of the curd during coagulation that could be used to quantitatively determine the cutting time. The technique uses ultrasound to generate and measure shear waves. These waves do not propagate in liquids and their velocity of propagation depends on the viscoelastic characteristics of the medium. Hence, they can be used to identify the beginning of coagulation and subsequently to monitor the evolution of the coagulum firmness. Our results showed this technique is sensitive to changes of the medium structure during coagulation. It also proved reproducible and sensitive to different coagulation conditions. Therefore this technique can be used to develop a system suitable for the dairy industry.