Modifying the physical properties of butter using high-intensity ultrasound.


Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences, Utah State University, Logan 83422-8700. Electronic address: [Email]


The physical qualities of butter are affected by the physical properties of the cream used to make it. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of high-intensity ultrasound (HIU) on the physical properties of cream and butter. High-intensity ultrasound (frequency: 20 kHz, amplitude: 108 µm), often called sonication, was applied for 0, 10, 30, 60, and 90 s using a 1.27-cm-diameter tip to heavy cream (40% fat; 300 g) that was aged at 7.5°C with low agitation (40 rpm) for 90 min. Sonicated cream was churned at 7.5°C until butter grains were formed. The solid fat content (SFC), melting behavior, and average fat droplet size of cream were measured after HIU treatment. Butter was characterized by SFC and melting behavior immediately after production and was tested for SFC, melting behavior, and hardness after storage for 24 h at 5°C. High-intensity ultrasound did not affect the average fat droplet size of cream. Sonicating cream for 30, 60, and 90 s slightly decreased SFC due to the temperature increase (2-6°C) that occurred during HIU application. Two melting peaks were observed at approximately 17 and 33°C in all the cream samples. A significantly lower peak temperature was observed in cream sonicated for 10 s compared with creams sonicated for 30 and 60 s. A relatively shorter churning time of sonicated cream compared with nonsonicated cream was observed, possibly because HIU weakens the fat globule membrane. Two melting peaks were observed in all butter samples at approximately 16 and 33°C. Treatment with HIU for 10 to 60 s significantly increased the hardness of butter. When HIU was applied to cream for 10 s, the hardest butter was obtained, with the lowest onset temperatures and highest enthalpy values for both melting peaks. Treatment with HIU for 10 s promoted crystallization of low-melting-point triacylglycerols (TAG) during churning, which resulted in a harder material. Significantly lower enthalpy values for the high-melting-fraction TAG were observed in butters treated with HIU for 60 and 90 s compared with non-HIU-treated butter, which suggests that a longer duration of HIU promotes melting of high-melting-point TAG. The hardness of butter was correlated with the enthalpy values of the low-melting fraction and with total enthalpy values of fresh butter. However, further crystallization occurred in the butter during 24 h of storage at 5°C, and all differences in enthalpy values disappeared. In conclusion, exposure of cream to HIU can be used to modify the physical properties of butter, and the effects of HIU depend on the length of HIU treatment.


butter,cream,crystallization,hardness,high-intensity ultrasound,