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 Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>