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 Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs
20.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>