Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Life on Cheese – Scientists Explore the Cheese Rind Microbiome

09.05.2014

Bacteria and moulds are vital to the ripening and aroma of many cheeses.

Scientists from the Institute for Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna are working to identify the microorganisms that live on the rind of Vorarlberger Bergkäse, an Austrian alpine cheese.


Scientists collegt cheese rind samples with a sharp knife.

Photo: Elisa Schornsteiner / Vetmeduni Vienna

Researchers found differences between young and aged cheeses, but also in samples from different cheese cellars. Environment and production techniques also influence cheese flora. The research results were published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

The rind is the boundary layer between a cheese and its environment. It hosts a variety of microorganisms that comprise the microbiome: a symbiotic community whose members perform different tasks. Some break down proteins and fats on the rind, for example, creating volatile sulphur and ammonia compounds that are responsible for the intensive odour of some types of cheese.

There are different curing methods for cheese. Some, like Limburger, Tilsiter and Appenzeller, need specific bacteria on their rinds. Others, like Camembert and Brie, develop their aroma with the assistance of moulds.

Vorarlberger Bergkäse - a model cheese

Vorarlberger Bergkäse is a regional speciality. Tons are produced every year, and similar varieties are made in the Tirol Alps and the Bavarian region of Allgäu. “In France, research into the microorganisms found on cheese is very advanced. Yet until now, the microbiome on Vorarlberger Bergkäse and other similar cheeses had hardly been investigated at all”, explains study director Stephan Schmitz-Esser.

Collecting cheese in the name of science

Microbiologist Schmitz-Esser and lead author Elisa Schornsteiner worked with colleagues from the Agricultural Chamber of Vorarlberg to gather samples from three different Vorarlberger cheese dairies. Schornsteiner collected 25 to 30 rind samples from cheese wheels at different curing stages from very young to well-aged. Then the scientists ran detailed genetic analyses on the rinds to identify the strains of bacteria and yeast living on them.

“Marine bacteria” with an unknown role discovered on rind

For the first time, these genetic analyses have revealed the entire spectrum of microorganisms that inhabit Vorarlberger Bergkäse. One find interested experts in particular: The Halomonas bacteria, a halophillic microbe probably originating from the sea, was the most common microorganism on the cheese and especially prevalent on young cheese rinds. Since the salt concentration on a cheese rind drops during the ripening process, researchers found older rinds hosted correspondingly fewer Halomonas. The exact role the microorganism plays in the cheese-making process is currently unknown and will be the subject of additional studies. The importance of the yeasts found on the cheese rinds is also still unclear and requires further investigation.

The microbiome’s role in cheese making

Microorganisms on cheese not only preserve the final product and make it aromatic and delicious; they are also very important for food safety. Many of the bacteria on the rind prevent the spread of potentially dangerous pathogens by excreting inhibitors against other bacteria, such as listeria. “Understanding exactly which microorganisms are on the rinds and the role each plays in the complex community is the subject of our research”, explains Schmitz-Esser. “This will allow us to help cheese dairies make safe, tasty cheeses”.

The article “Cultivation-independent analysis of microbial communities on Austrian raw milk hard cheese rinds” by Elisa Schornsteiner, Evelyne Mann, Othmar Bereuter, Martin Wagner and Stephan Schmitz-Esser was published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.04.010

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,200 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Stephan Schmitz-Esser
Institute of Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-3510
stephan.schmitz-esser@vetmeduni.ac.at

Released by:
Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/en/infoservice/presseinformation/press-releases-2014/...

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Food Life Medicine Microbiome Technology Veterinary analyses bacteria cheese identify microorganism microorganisms

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?
22.07.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Unconventional quasiparticles predicted in conventional crystals
22.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

Im Focus: A Peek into the “Birthing Room” of Ribosomes

Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis

A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...

Im Focus: New protocol enables analysis of metabolic products from fixed tissues

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.

In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...

Im Focus: Computer Simulation Renders Transient Chemical Structures Visible

Chemists at the University of Basel have succeeded in using computer simulations to elucidate transient structures in proteins. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers set out how computer simulations of details at the atomic level can be used to understand proteins’ modes of action.

Using computational chemistry, it is possible to characterize the motion of individual atoms of a molecule. Today, the latest simulation techniques allow...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Hey robot, shimmy like a centipede

22.07.2016 | Information Technology

New record in materials research: 1 terapascals in a laboratory

22.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

University of Graz researchers challenge 140-year-old paradigm of lichen symbiosis

22.07.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>