• Dynamic in situ imaging of semi-hard cheese microstructure under large-strain tensile deformation: Understanding structure-fracture relationships

      Lamichhane, Prabin; Auty, Mark A.E.; Kelly, Alan L.; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Dairy Research Ireland; Ornua; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; RMIS 6259 (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
      Changes in the microstructure of semi-hard cheeses were observed in situ under tensile deformation by placing a microtensile stage directly under a confocal scanning laser microscope, and recording force/displacement data simultaneously. On tensile deformation, detachment of fat globules and their subsequent release from the cheese matrix were observed, suggesting that they are weakly bonded to or entrapped within the cheese matrix. Moreover, an inherent micro-defect was observed at a curd granule junction within the cheese matrix, which fractured along the curd granule junction under tensile deformation, suggesting that such micro-defects could be a key to the formation of undesirable slits or cracks. Furthermore, the fracture behaviour of semi-hard cheese varied with ripening temperature, coagulant type, and inhibition of residual chymosin activity. Overall, this study demonstrated the potential of dynamic in situ imaging of cheese microstructure for developing a greater understanding of the breakdown behaviour of cheese matrices.