The 9-MilCA method as a rapid, partly automated protocol for simultaneously recording milk coagulation, curd firming, syneresis, cheese yield, and curd nutrients recovery or whey loss
Cipolat-Gotet, C.; Cecchinato, A.; Stocco, G.; Bittante, G.
Journal of Dairy Science 99(2): 1065-1082
ISSN/ISBN: 0022-0302 PMID: 26709175 DOI: 10.3168/jds.2015-9734
The aim of this study was to propose and test a new laboratory cheesemaking procedure [9-mL milk cheesemaking assessment (9-MilCA)], which records 15 traits related to milk coagulation, curd firming, syneresis, cheese yield, and curd nutrients recovery or whey loss. This procedure involves instruments found in many laboratories (i.e., heaters and lacto-dynamographs), with an easy modification of the sample rack for the insertion of 10-mL glass tubes. Four trials were carried out to test the 9-MilCA procedure. The first trial compared 8 coagulation and curd firming traits obtained using regular or modified sample racks to process milk samples from 60 cows belonging to 5 breeds and 3 farms (480 tests). The obtained patterns exhibited significant but irrelevant between-procedure differences, with better repeatability seen for 9-MilCA. The second trial tested the reproducibility and repeatability of the 7 cheesemaking traits obtained using the 9-MilCA procedure on individual samples from 60 cows tested in duplicate in 2 instruments (232 tests). The method yielded very repeatable outcomes for all 7 tested cheese yield and nutrient recovery traits (repeatability >98%), with the exception of the fresh cheese yield (84%), which was affected by the lower repeatability (67%) of the water retained in the curd. In the third trial (96 tests), we found that using centrifugation in place of curd cooking and draining (as adopted in several published studies) reduced the efficiency of whey separation, overestimated all traits, and worsened the repeatability. The fourth trial compared 9-MilCA with a more complex model cheese-manufacturing process that mimics industry practices, using 1,500-mL milk samples (72 cows, 216 tests). The average results obtained from 9-MilCA were similar to those obtained from the model cheeses, with between-method correlations ranging from 78 to 99%, except for the water retained in the curd (r=54%). Our results indicate that new 9-MilCA method is a powerful research tool that allows the rapid, inexpensive, and partly automated analysis processing 40 samples per day with 2 replicates each, using 1 lacto-dynamograph, 2 heaters, and 3 modified sample racks, and yields a complete picture of the cheesemaking process (e.g., milk gelation, curd firming, syneresis, and whey expulsion) as well as the cheese yield and the efficiency of energy or nutrients retention in the cheese or loss in the whey.