Development of Vitamin Fortified Cheese Using High Pressure Injection Technology

Principal Investigator:

Carl Brothersen, Utah State University

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Project Summary:

In a previous project we investigated the feasibility of fortifying cheese with vitamins. We found the flavor of the cheese was not adversely affected by addition of Vitamins D, B6 and folic acid, and the level of active vitamin remained high during aging of the cheese.  When vitamins are added to cheese milk, a large portion of the vitamin is lost in the whey.  This reduces the efficiency of the process and renders the whey unsuitably for use in other products.  Researchers at the Western Dairy Center have developed technology to inject liquids in to foods using high pressure. This technology utilizes narrow jets of liquid, which penetrate the product, rather than the traditional needle system. This eliminates cross contamination of samples by the needles. It also eliminates the whey contamination problem mentioned above.  The purpose of this proposal is to optimize this injection system for vitamin fortification of cheese. We will optimize pressure, pulse duration, and injection frequency in cheese at two temperature/age combinations: 1) room temperature when the cheese is removed from the press before the curd has begun to knit, and 2) in cheese that has been vacuum sealed and stored at 4°C for seven days and the cheese curd is sufficiently knit. We will then evaluate the cheese for even distribution of the vitamin. Cheese made from three manufacturing techniques will examined, 1) matted and milled curd, 2) stirred curd Cheddar or Mozzarella, and 3) pasta filata Mozzarella.  Successful completion of this project will determine the injection parameters for the most efficient injection of matted curd, stirred curd and pasta filata cheese, with vitamins. It will determine the distribution of the vitamin injected into these three cheese manufacturing classes, and it will provide a cost estimate of the system.

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