Glass and polymeric membrane electrodes for the measurement of pH in milk and cheese

Praveen Upreti, Lloyd E. Metzger, Philippe Bühlmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


While there is a considerable interest in the food industry in determining various analytes using ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), only few reports describe their use for direct measurements in food. In this study, the suitability of glass electrodes and ionophore-based solvent polymeric ISEs for the determination of pH in Process cheese, Cheddar cheese and milk was investigated. The liquid junction potential between a 3M KCl bridge electrolyte and diluted as well as undiluted Process cheese was found to be negligible. Reference electrodes with ceramic plug and sleeve-type junctions performed well, although precautions needed to be taken to prevent plugging at the junctions. While the protein rennet casein posed no problems in pH measurements, the extraction of neutral lipophilic compounds or hydrophobic peptides into solvent polymeric membranes was evident, resulting in some loss of selectivity for monovalent cations upon exposure to cheese. However, it was found that ISEs based on tridodecylamine (R3N) as ionophore and o-nitrophenyl octyl ether (oNPOE) as plasticizer can be used to accurately measure the pH of milk and, after desensitization of the electrodes in a cheese emulsion, of diluted Process cheese. Since pH measurements with a glass electrode showed that emulsions of cheese moderately diluted to a cheese content of 70% have the same pH as undiluted cheeses, it is possible to determine the pH in cheese with ionophore-based ISEs. R3N membranes also performed well in undiluted milk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 10 2004


  • Cheese
  • Dairy products
  • Glass electrode
  • Ion-selective electrode
  • Ionophore
  • Milk
  • pH measurement


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