Confocal Raman microscopy is a promising technique to derive information about microstructure, with minimal sample disruption. Raman emission bands are highly specific to molecular structure and with Raman spectroscopy it is thus possible to observe different classes of molecules in situ, in complex food matrices, without employing fluorescent dyes. In this work confocal Raman microscopy was employed to observe microstructural changes occurring after freezing and thawing in high-moisture cheeses, and the observations were compared to those obtained with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Two commercially available cream cheese products were imaged with both microscopy techniques. The lower resolution (1 μm/pixel) of confocal Raman microscopy prevented the observation of particles smaller than 1 μmthat may be part of the structure (e.g., sugars). With confocal Raman microscopy it was possible to identify and map the large water domains formed during freezing and thawing in high-moisture cream cheese. The results were supported also by low resolution NMR analysis. NMR and Raman microscopy are complementary techniques that can be employed to distinguish between the two different commercial formulations, and different destabilization levels.
- Cheese freezing
- Confocal laser scanning microscopy
- Cream cheese
- NMR spectroscopy
- Raman spectroscopy