Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Paul Kindstedt


cheese, food systems, crystals


Cheese crystals are a very polarizing topic for consumers; some people enjoy these crunchy constituents whereas others dislike their gritty texture. The presence of these crystals, or lack thereof, often dictates consumer’s demand for cheese products. The purpose of this experiment was to look at the change in crystal composition over time on smear ripened cheese with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the crystals. The cheese samples were analyzed under a polarized light microscope to find the angle of extinction of the crystals as well as to gather morphological data on them. This study showed that there are nine different apparent crystal subtypes present on this cheese type. Three were definitively identified using powder X-ray diffractometry as calcite, ikaite, and struvite. Struvite and ikaite were able to be differentiated from the other subtypes based on single crystal X-ray diffractometry work. This study also revealed that the average area of the crystals present on the cheese tended to decrease during weeks 7, 8, and 9 post manufacture. The crystals then showed a significant increase in area by week 12. This work showed that the crystals on the bacterial smear of smear ripened cheese are very complex and varied. Single crystal X-ray diffraction work would greatly aid in the definitive identification of these different crystal subtypes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.