An automated system for monitoring culture growth and determining coagulum cutting time is needed for cottage cheese manufacturing. A light backscatter measurement system was designed and installed in a local cottage cheese manufacturing plant. A cutting time prediction algorithm was developed using parameters generated from the backscatter profile. The cutting time prediction algorithm, Tcut = Tmax + β2 S, used two time-based parameters generated from the backscatter profile (Tmax and S) and one operator selected parameter, β2, to predict the coagulum cutting time, Tcut. The standard error of prediction for the algorithm was 6.4 min and was an improvement over the standard error of 8.7 min previously reported (Payne et al., 1998). The algorithm is more robust than that used by Payne et al. (1998) because it predicts cutting time based on a measure of coagulation kinetics, S, and eliminates the uncertainty of the culture starting time from the algorithm. In addition, a method was proposed for continuous monitoring of culture growth during the first 210 min of the process.

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Published in Transactions of the ASAE, v. 42, issue 4, p. 1039-1045.

© 1999 American Society of Agricultural Engineers

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

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The financial support provided by Winchester Farms Dairy, a Kroger Company (Cincinnati, Ohio) milk processing plant, is appreciated.

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The paper (98-05-100) reports results of an investigation by the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and are published with the approval of the Director.