Dairy products provide an important source of nutrition globally and have a very high economic value in the food sector. Consumers expect milk and other dairy products to be pure, unadulterated and free from both accidental and deliberate contamination. Fast, reliable and cost effective analyses are essential to ensure that products are pure and safe when they are sold.
JNIRS—Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy has published a Special Issue on Milk and Milk Products, containing papers reporting new developments and uses of NIR spectroscopy as a valuable tool along the full dairy chain.
This issue updates researchers and the dairy industry on the rapid and reliable analysis of liquid milk and the products derived from it, while also exploring some new applications, and presenting practical experiences and outcomes from an industrial perspective.
NIR Spectroscopy has been used to predict the chemical composition of milk and dairy products, to monitor the cutting-point during cheese manufacturing and even predict sensory characteristics such as hardness and tenderness.
Several papers in this issue will help readers understand how light interacts with complex matrices such as milk. The issue includes papers which explain how the contribution to apparent absorption due to scattering can be separated from that due to true absorption by the sample. The benefits which this offers include being able to obtain important information on the chemical composition and micro-structural properties which are not available with the traditional techniques used in dairy production.
Modern dairies measure the output from each quarter of the udder and a paper in this issue reveals the potential of real time in vivo spectroscopy for diagnosing mammary gland inflammation in dairy cow udders before milking.
The issue also includes papers on assessing the degree of homogenisation of milk and the monitoring of milk powder in a production line where the challenges to accurate analyses include variations in the operating temperature.