Food Biophysics

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 333–342 | Cite as

The Influence of Emulsion Droplet Interactions on the Structural, Material and Functional Properties of a Model Mozzarella Cheese

  • Jing Luo
  • Graeme Gillies
  • Mita Lad
  • Matt Golding


We present findings on the influence of interfacial layer composition on the colloidal interactions and associated structural and material properties of oil-in-protein gel emulsions, as applied to a model Mozzarella cheese analogue. Model cheese samples were produced through thermal mixing of pre-prepared oil-in-water emulsions with a renneted casein gel. Sodium caseinate and Tween 20 were used as the emulsifiers. Microstructural analysis showed sodium caseinate stabilised droplets to be homogeneously dispersed within the cheese structure, whilst droplets stabilised by Tween 20 were phase concentrated into localised fat domains within the continuous protein network. Particle size measurements determined that, on chilled storage, the droplets in these localised regions underwent extensive partial coalescence, whilst the homogenously distributed caseinate droplets showed little change in droplet size. Small deformation rheology (4 to 80 °C) determined the sodium caseinate emulsion as providing a reinforcing effect on the protein network across the entire temperature range, while the Tween 20 emulsion was observed to mechanically strengthen the cheese structure at only at temperatures for which the fat phase was solid whilst serving to weaken the structure on transitioning to a molten state. Differences in droplet structure and stability were determined as influencing cheese melt and flow characteristics. During melting, no oiling-off observed for cheese samples comprising sodium caseinate stabilised droplets, compared to Tween 20 stabilised emulsions where extensive oiling-off was observed. Findings corroborate the hypothesis that caseinate coated droplets behave as active fillers within the protein network, whilst the Tween 20 stabilised emulsion are non-interactive.


Mozzarella Flow Microstructure Rheology Active/inactive particles 



Anhydrous milk fat


Confocal laser scanning microscopy


Model cheese made from milk fat stabilised with sodium caseinate


Model cheese made from milk fat stabilised with Tween 20


Sodium caseinate


Rapid visco analyser

Tween 20

Polyoxyethylene-20 sorbitan monolaurate



The authors are grateful to Fonterra Co-operative Group and the Ministry for Primary Industries for funding this project via the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey Institute of Food Science and TechnologyMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Fonterra Research and Development CentrePalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  3. 3.The Riddet Institute, Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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