Never thought that “x-ray” and “cheese” would go together in the same sentence? Us either! But it turns out, there’s no limit to the arenas x-ray technology can be used in and that’s amazing!
Researchers from the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research a the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have used x-ray technology to develop a direct and rapid detection method for sodium (Na) in cheese!
The method allows cheesemakers to adjust sodium levels during the cheesemaking process using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF).
This method will be used instead of the standard Volhard method, which uses chloride analysis to indirectly measure sodium and typically ends up overestimating the actual amount present.
According to Bill Graves, the vice president for product research at Dairy Management, Inc., they wanted to give dairymakers a tool to measure directly and rapidly in real time so that they’re able to make changes during the cheesemaking process.
They were able to borrow XRF from the mining industry, where it is used for mineral analysis and known for being both rapid and reliable. XRF is also precise, nondestructive, and a potential alternative method for direct sodium determination in other foods besides cheese as well, according to the study. It is also able to measure and control the amount of other minerals such as calcium.
The study found that XRF worked well for natural cheeses like mozzarella and cheddar, but not so well for more processed cheeses like American cheese, which contains a more complex mineral makeup.
According to Graves, the technology is ready to have cheesemakers adopt it nationwide.
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