Calcium and lactate are present in excess of their solubility in Cheddar cheese. Consequently, calcium lactate crystals (CLC) are a common defect in Cheddar cheese. A novel approach for preventing CLC is the addition of sodium gluconate. Sodium gluconate has the potential to increase the solubility of calcium and lactate by forming soluble complexes with calcium and lactate ions, and preventing them from being available for the formation of CLC. The objective of this study was to determine if sodium gluconate could increase the solubility of calcium lactate (CaL 2). Seven CaL 2 solutions (5.31% wt/wt) with 7 levels of sodium gluconate (0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, and 4% wt/wt) were made in triplicate. Solutions were stored at 7°C for 21 d, and were visually inspected for CLC formation. Subsequently, they were filtered to remove CLC and the supernatant was analyzed for lactic acid and gluconic acid by HPLC and for calcium by atomic absorption spectroscopy. The visual inspection demonstrated that CLC were formed in the solution with 0% gluconate after the first day of storage and CLC continued to accumulate over time. A minute amount of CLC was also visible in the solution with 0.5% gluconate after 21 d of storage, whereas CLC were not visible in the other solutions. The HPLC results indicated a higher concentration of calcium and lactic acid in the filtrate from the solutions containing added gluconate. Thus, sodium gluconate can increase the solubility of CaL 2.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The financial support of the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center (St. Paul, MN) is gratefully acknowledged.
- Calcium lactate crystal
- Sodium gluconate