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A physico-chemical approach to the structure and function of mozzarella cheese

Authors: Paul S. Kindstedt and Ming R. Guo

Abstract:

There is mounting evidence that the structure and function of mozzarella cheese are influence by physico-chemical changes that occur during the first weeks after manufacture. Analyses of the expressible serum obtained from mozzarella cheese by high-speed centrifuguation show that intact caseins (αs1-, αs2-, β-, para- κ-) and casein-associated minerals (Ca, Mg, Zn) become more soluable during ageing, with an accompanying increase in the water-holding capacity of the cheese. This behaviour is salt-dependent and may be indicative of salt-induced solvation and swelling of the casein fibres that form the structural matrix of the cheese. The distribution of casein-associatied minerals between the protein matrix and the serum phase is influenced by cheese pH, with lower pH favouring greater solubility. Soluble calcium is of particular interest, because it strongly inhibits salt-induced solvation of casein and does not contribute to cheese structure.

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