Australian scientists have worked out a simple way to separate cream from whole milk using ultrasonic waves.
The Swinburne University of Technology in Australia and CSIRO researchers will present their technique at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America this week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The project has established a proven ultrasound technique to separate fat globules from milk at high volumes, up to 30 litres an hour.
Thomas Leong, an ultrasound engineer at the Swinburne University of Technology, says the technique can be used to specifically select milk fat globules of different sizes.
This means different products can be created. Some dairy studies suggest that cheeses made from milk with a higher portion of small fat globules have superior taste and texture. And milk or cream with more large fat globules can lead to tastier butter.
The ultrasonic separation process is much faster, at 10 to 20 minutes, than traditional methods of natural fat sedimentation and buoyancy processing, commonly used for the manufacture of Parmesan cheeses in Northern Italy, which can take more than six hours.
The next step is to work with small cheese makers to demonstrate the efficacy of the technique in cheese production.
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