Examining Soft Cheeses

January 12/Fermoy, Ireland/Agriculture Week -- "The ripening of industrial soft cheeses manufactured using a liquid pre-cheese produced from the ultrafiltration (UF) of milk was observed to be slow in comparison to that of cheese manufactured by a traditional process," investigators in Fermoy, Ireland, report.

"Moreover, in the UF-cheeses investigated in this study, which were produced using Penicillium camemberti as the surface flora, several surface defects were observed: the texture was "carton"-like, and the rind frequently detached from the cheese. To gain a fuller understanding of the development of these surface defects in UF-cheeses, the migration of different minerals and ions, and the study of the rind microstructure by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray mapping were performed," wrote J.A. Hannon and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "The results suggest that the slower diffusion of lactate, possibly due to the mineral layer at the surface of cheeses, acting as a barrier to its diffusion, may have caused an alteration in the metabolism and growth of the surface mould and may explain the surface defects of these UF-cheeses."

Hannon and colleagues published their study in Dairy Science & Technology ("Limited Ripening of Low-fat UF-cheese Due to CaPO4 Barrier") Dairy Science & Technology, 2009;89(6):555-568).

For additional information, contact J.A. Hannon, TEAGASC, Moorepk Food Research Center, Fermoy, Cork, Ireland.

From the January 18, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition