Innovative strategies to accelerate cheese ripening – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Food Science > Research projects > Microbiology and Fermentation > 114.Cheese-ripening

03 September 2015

Innovative strategies to accelerate cheese ripening

Ripening comprises complex microbial and enzymatic activities performed in concert in order to develop a balanced cheese flavour and suitable texture.

In this project, we will create a cheese matrix to examine the diffusion properties as a function of different cheese technology parameters. Furthermore, we will investigate and describe the interactions between the bacteria colonies in the cheese matrix during the initial ripening period.

Reduction of cheese ripening times

Schematic presentation of the diffusion of metabolites between immobilised colonies in the cheese matrix.

The important parameters in accelerated cheese ripening will be established through gaining a greater understanding of microbial behaviour and the diffusion properties of the key metabolites and how these are influenced by matrix properties such as water activity, the grade of proteolysis, mineral balance, pH and temperature.

A new concept for cheese production will be developed to create a cheese matrix that stimulates the establishment of ripening bacteria and the optimal conditions for rapid maturation.

This will include:

  • accelerated acidification by starter culture bacteria in a solid matrix;
  • accelerated amino acid release by an increased availability of intracellular enzymes; and
  • the stimulated growth of ripening bacteria using energy obtained from
    disintegration of the starter bacteria.

The hypothesis is that an optimal matrix can be created by combining knowledge about the important parameters in the cheesemaking procedures.

Original title: Innovative strategies to accelerate cheese ripening

Start date: September 2014              

End date: September 2017

Grant donor: Innovation Fund Denmark

FOOD grant: DKK 1,598,000

Total budget: DKK 3,196,000