Short communication: Evaluation of a sol-gel–based stainless steel surface modification to reduce fouling and biofilm formation during pasteurization of milk

Dylan Zhe Liu, Shivali Jindal, Jayendra Amamcharla, Sanjeev Anand, Lloyd Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Milk fouling and biofilms are common problems in the dairy industry across many types of processing equipment. One way to reduce milk fouling and biofilms is to modify the characteristics of milk contact surfaces. This study examines the viability of using Thermolon (Porcelain Industries Inc., Dickson, TN), a sol-gel-based surface modification of stainless steel, during thermal processing of milk. We used stainless steel 316L (control) and sol-gel-modified coupons in this study to evaluate fouling behavior and bacterial adhesion. The surface roughness as measured by an optical profiler indicated that the control coupons had a slightly smoother finish. Contact angle measurements showed that the modified surface led to a higher water contact angle, suggesting a more hydrophobic surface. The modified surface also had a lower surface energy (32.4 ± 1.4 mN/m) than the control surface (41.36 ± 2.7 mN/m). We evaluated the susceptibility of control and modified stainless steel coupons to fouling in a benchtop plate heat exchanger. We observed a significant reduction in the amount of fouled layer on modified surfaces. We found an average fouling weight of 19.21 mg/cm2 and 0.37 mg/cm2 on the control and modified stainless steel coupons, respectively. We also examined the adhesion of Bacillus and biofilm formation, and observed that the modified stainless steel surface offered greater resistance to biofilm formation. Overall, the Thermolon-modified surface showed potential in the thermal processing of milk, offering significantly lower fouling and bacterial attachment than the control surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2577-2581
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume100
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Keywords

  • bacterial attachment
  • milk deposit
  • surface treatment
  • thermal processing

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