Nano spray-dried sodium chloride and its effects on the microbiological and sensory characteristics of surface-salted cheese crackers

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Reducing particle size of salt to approximately 1.5 µm would increase its surface area, leading to increased dissolution rate in saliva and more efficient transfer of ions to taste buds, and hence, perhaps, a saltier perception of foods. This has a potential for reducing the salt level in surface-salted foods. Our objective was to develop a salt using a nano spray-drying method, to use the developed nano spray-dried salt in surface-salted cheese cracker manufacture, and to evaluate the microbiological and sensory characteristics of cheese crackers. Sodium chloride solution (3% wt/wt) was sprayed through a nano spray dryer. Particle sizes were determined by dynamic light scattering, and particle shapes were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Approximately 80% of the salt particles produced by the nano spray dryer, when drying a 3% (wt/wt) salt solution, were between 500 and 1,900 nm. Cheese cracker treatments consisted of 3 different salt sizes: regular salt with an average particle size of 1,500 µm; a commercially available Microsized 95 Extra Fine Salt (Cargill Salt, Minneapolis, MN) with an average particle size of 15 µm; and nano spray-dried salt with an average particle size of 1.5 µm, manufactured in our laboratory and 3 different salt concentrations (1, 1.5, and 2% wt/wt). A balanced incomplete block design was used to conduct consumer analysis of cheese crackers with nano spray-dried salt (1, 1.5, and 2%), Microsized salt (1, 1.5, and 2%) and regular 2% (control, as used by industry) using 476 participants at 1wk and 4mo. At 4mo, nano spray-dried salt treatments (1, 1.5, and 2%) had significantly higher preferred saltiness scores than the control (regular 2%). Also, at 4mo, nano spray-dried salt (1.5 and 2%) had significantly more just-about-right saltiness scores than control (regular 2%). Consumers' purchase intent increased by 25% for the nano spray-dried salt at 1.5% after they were notified about the 25% reduction in sodium content of the cheese cracker. We detected significantly lower yeast counts for nano spray-dried salt treatments (1, 1.5, and 2%) at 4mo compared with control (regular) salt (1, 1.5 and 2%). We detected no mold growth in any of the treatments at any time. At 4mo, we found no significant differences in sensory color, aroma, crunchiness, overall liking, or acceptability scores of cheese crackers using 1.5 and 1% nano spray-dried salt compared with control. Therefore, 25 to 50% less salt would be suitable for cheese crackers if the particle size of regular salt was reduced 3 log to form nano spray-dried salt. A 3-log reduction in sodium chloride particle size from regular salt to nano spray-dried salt increased saltiness, but a 1-log reduction in salt size from Microsized salt to nano spray-dried salt did not increase saltiness of surface-salted cheese crackers. The use of salt with reduced particle size by nano spray drying is recommended for use in surface-salted cheese crackers to reduce sodium intake.

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Journal of dairy science

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