Improved Cheese Manufacturing with Power Ultrasonics

Production of various cheese types such as hard cheeses, soft cheeses and curd, made from various milk sort (e.g., cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, camel milk etc.) can be efficiently improved by sonication. The application of high-intensity ultrasound accelerates homogenization, fermentation, and ripening, improves microbial stability and shows positive effects on nutrient value and texture.

High-Intensity Ultrasound Improves Cheese Production

Milk, cheese and curd can be efficiently pasteurized using power ultrasound. Sonication reduces microbial count and results in higher nutrient values when compared to traditional pasteurization.Ultrasonic food processing is a well established technology to improve milk homogenization and fermentation in cheese manufacturing. Furthermore, sonication in combination with mild heat treatment – known as thermo-sonication – is used as alternative to traditional heat-based pasteurization, thereby preventing nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids and fats against thermal degradation. Cheese production using milk or whey can be significantly intensified and improved by the application of high-intensity, low-frequency ultrasound.

Advantages of Ultrasonic Cheese Production

  • Accelerated cheese production
  • Improved cheese quality
  • Higher cheese yield
  • Reduced fermentation time
  • Cost-effective
  • Simple and safe to use
  • Energy-efficient

Ultrasonication has been successfully applied to cheese production processes from bovine / cow milk, sheep milk, buffalo milk, goat milk, camel milk and horse milk.
Ultrasonically promoted cheese production can be used for various cheese types including cheddar cheese, feta cheese, cream cheese, curd cheese, Mexican panela cheese, Hispanic soft cheese, and other cheese specialties.
The effects of low-frequency, high-intensity ultrasound on milk in cheese production include an increase in gel strength and gel hardness, the acceleration of gel formation, increase in the specific surface area, reduction of curd firmness, the small and even particle size distribution of fat globules as well as a greater water-holding capacity.
Ultrasonically increased homogeneity and more even distribution of milk fat globules improves cheese quality, too. For instance, curd properties of goat’s milk with renin showed after 10 min ultrasonication a denser gel crosslinked network, resulting in a more homogeneous microstructure with abundant pores. It is notable that these pores were significantly smaller than those in the milk curd without sonication. This suggests that the curd of goat’s milk treated with power ultrasound shows greater firmness, registering values of G’max (maximum value for the storage modulus) higher than 100 Pa, even higher than those reported in cow’s milk. Similar effect was observed in the adhesiveness (the strength of the internal bonds of the sample). Hence, it can be assumed that high-intensity ultrasound promotes strong interactions between the components of the milk, improving the setting properties. (cf. Carrillo-Lopez et al. 2021)

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High-intensity ultrasound (HIU) improves cheese production efficiency, accelerates fermentation and increases microbial inactivation.

Ultrasonic inline treatment of milk for cheese production.

Ultrasonic Effects on the Production of Various Cheeses

The application of high-intensity ultrasound improves cheese manufacturing.The effects of high-intensity ultrasound on during dairy processing and cheese manufacturing have been intensely studied.
Increased cheese yield: The sonication of fresh raw milk with the ultrasonicator UP400S during panela cheese production, resulted in an increased cheese yield (%), despite an increase of exudate. Yellow tones and coloration in cheese is promoted by HIU at 10 min. But not L*, a*, nor C* colour coordinates are affected. pH increased from 6.6 to 6.74 after 5 min of ultrasonication but reduced at 10 min. (cf. Carrillo-Lopez et al., 2020)
Improved cheese texture: Regarding studies carried out on cheese, Bermúdez-Aguirre and Barbosa-Cánovas reported that fresh cheese obtained from milk treated with thermosonication (using the Hielscher UP400S – 400 W, 24 kHz, 63 °C, 30 min) was softer and more brittle than cheese from the control milk (without thermosonication). Those characteristics resulted in an easier cheese to crumble, which is a desirable attribute of fresh cheese. These authors explained this behaviour by noting that the microstructure of thermo-sonicated milk cheese presented a more homogeneous structure compared to non-sonicated milk cheese. Moreover, they noted that thermosonication improved homogenization of proteins and fat and increased retention of water molecules in the matrix. Hence, it can be assumed that HIU promotes strong interactions between the components of the milk, improving the setting properties.

Influence of Ultrasonics on Dairy: Viscosity & Rheology, Homogeneity, Microbial Activity

Dairy products are produces from animal milk, such as e.g. cow, sheep, goat, buffalo, horse or camel milk. After harvesting, the milk can be processed to various products, such as homogenized and skimmed milk, yogurt, cream, butter, cheese, whey, casein or milk powder. Cow milk is the most important raw material for the dairy industry with a worldwide production of 542,069,000 tonnes/year.[Gerosa et al. 2012]
Whey (milk serum) is a by-product of cheese or casein production. It consists mainly in globinstagers α-lactalbumin (~65%), β-lactoglobulin (~25%), as well as of small amounts of serum albumin (~8%) and immunoglobins. Whey proteins are globular proteins which can be extracted from whey.
Milk powder is processed by spray-dryers to dry and vaporize the milk in respect to obtain the pure dry milk powder. Due to the extremely high energy consumption of spray dryers, a high solid concentration of the liquid is important to optimize the process efficiency.

“Samples of fresh skim milk, reconstituted micellar casein, and casein powder were sonicated at 20kHz to investigate the effect of ultrasonication. For fresh skim milk, the average size of the remaining fat globules was reduced by approximately 10nm after 60min of sonication; however, the size of the casein micelles was determined to be unchanged. A small increase in soluble whey protein and a corresponding decrease in viscosity also occurred within the first few minutes of sonication, which could be attributed to the breakup of casein-whey protein aggregates. No measurable changes in free casein content could be detected in ultracentrifuged skim milk samples sonicated for up to 60min. A small, temporary decrease in pH resulted from sonication; however, no measurable change in soluble calcium concentration was observed. Therefore, casein micelles in fresh skim milk were stable during the exposure to ultrasonication. Similar results were obtained for reconstituted micellar casein, whereas larger viscosity changes were observed as whey protein content was increased. Controlled application of ultrasound can be usefully applied to reverse process-induced protein aggregation without affecting the native state of casein micelles.” [Chandrapala et al. 2012]

Effects of High-Intensity Ultrasound on Milk Nutrients and Microbial Stability

Razavi and Kenari (2020) investigated the influence of high-intensity ultrasound combines with a mild heat treatment process to deactivate microbes and enzymes leading to spoilage and degradation of safety in foods. The aim of their study was to evaluate the effect of ultrasound process as an alternative for high temperature heat process on microbial count, lipid oxidation as qualitative parameter and vitamins as nutritional characteristics of milk. The results showed that ultrasound has been able to reduce the microbial load of milk and it made fewer changes in vitamins than milk treated with conventional heat treatment. In this regard, sonication using an ultrasonic probe was found to be superior and most effective at 75% intensity. The use of ultrasound probe type at 55°C and 75% intensity for 10 minutes is recommended as a non-destructive process for milk pasteurization.

Hielscher UIP4000hdT inline ultrasonicator for cheese processing: Sonication increases cheese yield and quality.

Industrial 4kW ultrasonic homogenizer UIP4000hdT for dairy and cheese processing. Milk is fed in a continuous flow-through process into the ultrasonic reactor in order to improve microbial stability, increase cheese fermentation, yield and quality.

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High-Performance Ultrasonic Homogenizers for Cheese Production

Industrial inline ultrasonicator for accelerated cheese fermentation and higher yields in cheese productionHielscher Ultrasonics is long-experienced in the application of power ultrasound in the food & beverage industry as well as many other industrial branches. Our ultrasonic processors are equipped with easy-to-clean (clean-in-place CIP / sterilize-in-place SIP) sonotrodes and flow-cells (the wet parts). Hielscher Ultrasonics’ industrial ultrasonic processors can deliver very high amplitudes. Amplitudes of up to 200µm can be easily continuously run in 24/7 operation. High amplitudes are important to inactivate more resistant microbes (e.g., gram-positive bacteria). For even higher amplitudes, customized ultrasonic sonotrodes are available. All sonotrodes and ultrasonic flow cell reactors can be operated under elevated temperatures and pressures, which allows for a reliable thermo-mano-sonication and highly effective pasteurization.
State-of-the-art technology, high-performance and sophisticated software make Hielscher Ultrasonics’ reliable work horses in your food pasteurization line. With a small footprint and versatile installation options, Hielscher ultrasonicators can be easily integrated or retro-fitted into existing production lines.
Please contact us know to learn more about the features and capability of our ultrasonic homogenization systems. We would be glad to discuss your cheese application with you!

The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

Batch Volume Flow Rate Recommended Devices
1 to 500mL 10 to 200mL/min UP100H
10 to 2000mL 20 to 400mL/min UP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L 0.2 to 4L/min UIP2000hdT
10 to 100L 2 to 10L/min UIP4000hdT
n.a. 10 to 100L/min UIP16000
n.a. larger cluster of UIP16000

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Ultrasonic high-shear homogenizers are used in lab, bench-top, pilot and industrial processing.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers for mixing applications, dispersion, emulsification and extraction on lab, pilot and industrial scale.



Literature / References



High performance ultrasonics! Hielscher's product range covers the full spectrum from the compact lab ultrasonicator over bench-top units to full-industrial ultrasonic systems.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to industrial size.