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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2002 Sep 1;253(1):35-46.

Structure, dynamics, and optical properties of concentrated milk suspensions: an analogy to hard-sphere liquids.

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  • 1Physics Department, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, CH-1700, Switzerland.


A systematic study of the effects of volume fraction increment on the optical properties, the structure, and the dynamics of the casein micelles and fat droplets in milk was performed using diffusing wave spectroscopy. Four types of milk were investigated, NIDO full fat milk, fat-free milk, whey and fat-free milk, and finally lactose and fat-free milk. Independent measurements to calculate the dependence of the viscosity and the index of refraction of the milk serum and casein micelles as a function of the volume fraction were also performed. We compare the experimentally determined quantities photon transport mean free path (l*) and self-diffusion coefficient D(s) with the predictions from theoretical calculations using classical colloidal models such as a hard-sphere fluid. We demonstrate that all types of milk with and without fat content behave, structurally, like colloidal hard-sphere systems up to volume fractions well over 45%. In the case of dynamic measurements, both lactose- and fat-free and whey- and fat-free milk behave also like hard-sphere systems whereas fat-free milk and fat-containing NIDO milk deviate slightly at volume fractions over 35%. Finally, a comparative measurement and theoretical calculation of the casein micelle's size was performed.

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