The ARC Dairy Innovation Hub, The Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia; The Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
Synchrotron Fourier transform infrared (S-FTIR) microspectroscopy allows the label-free examination of material microstructure but has not been widely applied to dairy products. Here, S-FTIR microspectroscopy was applied to observe the microstructure of Mozzarella cheese and assess the protein and lipid distribution within individual cheese blocks. High lipid and high protein areas were identified in transmission and attenuated total reflectance (ATR) analysis modes and the secondary structures of cheese proteins determined. Hierarchical cluster analysis and principal component analysis identified variation in random coil, water content, lipid carbonyl and methylene stretching across the sampled area. Similar spectral features were obtained in both analysis modes; spatial resolution was higher with ATR and small differences were noted, potentially as a result of differences in sample preparation. S-FTIR is a useful microscopy tool that can detect structural alterations that may affect product properties and may assist reverse engineering of a range of dairy products.