Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Donald J. McMahon


Donald J. McMahon


Craig J. Oberg


Daren Cornforth


Conly Hansen


The effect of reducing the fat content of low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese from 19% to less than 5% on melted cheese properties, i.e., apparent viscosity, cheese melt, and cook color, was investigated. Functional properties of melt and stretch and cook color were evaluated at d 1, 7, 14, and 28. A rapid microwave oven method underestimated the moisture content of the low fat cheeses by approximately 10%. Low fat cheese did not melt as well as did the low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese although the moisture content of the low fat cheese (moisture content ranged from 62.5% to 63.6%) was greater than the moisture content of the part-skim control (52.1 %). Storage for 28 d only marginally increased the meltability of low fat cheese. Lower fat content increased cook color. The amount of intact a αs-CN decreased by at least 48% in all cheeses as a result of proteolysis during 28 d of storage.

The relative proportion of bound, entrapped, and expressible water was determined for a reduced-fat (8% fat) and control (19% fat) Mozzarella cheese on d 1, 7, 14, and 21 of refrigerated storage. Changes in the state of water were related to changes in cheese microstructure of a commercial Mozzarella cheese and to changes in cheese meltability of the control cheese. The amount of expressible water was proportional to fat content. Throughout storage, fat/serum channels became smaller and the protein matrix expanded into the areas between fat globules. The meltability of both cheeses increased during storage. Both cheeses contained 0.71g bound water/ g protein. Expressible water decreased in both cheeses until by d 21 no water was expressible. Entrapped moisture increased from approximately 10% to 60% for the control cheese and from approximately 33% to 50% for the reduced-fat cheese.

An objective test was developed for measuring stretch, a characteristic of melted cheese. Three nonfat and four low-moisture part-skim cheeses were evaluated using the new test and the results compared with conventional test methods. Two new melted cheese parameters were defined: melt strength, the maximum load (g) obtained during the test, and stretch quality, the average load (g) as the cheese fibers stretched and elongated. Melt strength correlated with apparent viscosity. Stretch quality was determined for selected nonfat and low-moisture part-skim cheeses. A three-pronged probe was used to pull cheese vertically from a melted cheese pool. Use of this elongation stretch test, along with more traditional melted cheese tests, provides more complete information about the functional properties of Mozzarella cheese.