In this article, we present an experimental approach to determine the milk fat content using scattered light intensity profiles. The elements of the scattering (Mueller) matrix have been shown to provide valuable information about variation of the optical properties of scattering particles. The scattering behavior of fat and casein in terms of the scattering matrix elements was experimentally determined for milk with varying fat levels ranging from 0.05 wt% (skim) to 3.20 wt% (whole). Three of the scattering Mueller matrix elements, specifically S11, S12/S11, and S33/S11, were found to be sensitive to the number of fat particles in milk. These results indicate that it should be possible to develop a reliable sensor based on the measurement of these scattering elements, which will allow for the development of a robust, in-line sensor to be used in food processing. In addition, an attempt was made to model the phenomena using a relatively simple approach based on single scattering with a size distribution. The disagreement between the model and experiments suggests that a more comprehensive model is needed which can account for multiple scattering.

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Published in Transactions of the ASAE, v. 48, issue 3, p. 1147-1155.

© 2005 American Society of Agricultural Engineers

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