Electrical Impedance Particle Size Method (Coulter Counter) Detects the Large Fat Globules in Poorly Homogenized UHT Processed Milk
Australian Journal of Dairy Technology
The large fat globules that can be present in UHT milk due to inadequate homogenisation cause a cream layer to form that limits the shelf life of UHT milk. Four different particle size measurement techniques were used to measure the size of fat globules in poorly homogenised UHT milk processed in a UHT pilot plant. The thickness of the cream layer that formed during storage was negatively correlated with homogenisation pressure. It was positively correlated with the mass mean diameter and the percentage volume of particles between 1.5 and 2 mu m diameter, as determined by laser light scattering using the Malvern Mastersizer. Also, the thickness of the cream layer was positively correlated with the volume mode diameter and the percentage volume of particles between 1.5 and 2 mu m diameter, as determined by electrical impedance using the Coulter Counter. The cream layer thickness did not correlate significantly with the Coulter Counter measurements of volume mean diameter, or volume percentages of particles between 2 and 5 mu m or 5 and 10 mu m diameter. Spectroturbidimetry (Emulsion Quality Analyser) and light microscopy analyses were found to be unsuitable for assessing the size of the fat particles. This study suggests that the fat globule size distribution as determined by the electrical impedance method (Coulter Counter) is the most useful for determining the efficiency of homogenisation and therefore for predicting the stability of the fat emulsion in UHT milk during storage.
Hillbrick, G.C., McMahon, D.J. and H. C. Deeth. 1998. Electrical impedance particle size method (coulter counter) detects the large fat globules in poorly homogenized UHT processed milk. Australian J. Dairy Technol. 53:17-21.