Biotech, Biomaterials and Biomedical: TechConnect Briefs 2015Biotech, Biomaterials and Biomedical TechConnect Briefs 2015

Food Materials Chapter 8

A new at-line quality and process control technology for real-time testing of viscoelastic changes in dairy and food products

S. Strandman, A.H. Henni, C. Schmitt
Rheolution Inc., Canada

pp. 331 - 334

Keywords: non-destructive tests, contactless viscoelasticity measurements, gelation, coagulation

Currently, few methods allow monitoring the viscoelastic properties of food products in production environments for process and quality control. In addition, there is a pressing need for a testing instrument that: is affordable and easy to use, tests multiple samples simultaneously, and provides absolute and precise viscoelasticity results rapidly. Fast real-time monitoring of processes such as gelation could allow predicting the viscoelasticity of final product and enable corrective actions during the production process. In response to these needs, Rheolution Inc. has developed a new non-destructive and contactless technology for real-time at-line and in-lab monitoring of the viscoelasticity of food ingredients and formulations for industrial R&D and quality control operations. The capabilities of this new technology will be demonstrated through viscoelastic monitoring of gelation and melting of various ingredients and food products using a R&D laboratory version, ElastoSensTM X3. A processing hall version, CoaguSensTM, was used for at-line mechanical monitoring of milk gel formation in cheesemaking and cutting time determination from curd elasticity. Results from medium-sized cheese plant showed reduced variability (-45%) in yield after adopting CoaguSensTM to cheesemaking process. This allows refining the process, leads to considerable savings upon improved yield and quality, and facilitates further automation of cutting step.