Influence of Starter Culture Growth on the Development of Rosey and Burnt-Brothy Floavors During Aging of Low Fat Cheese

Principal Investigators: Donald J. McMahon, Utah State University

Project Summary:

Low fat cheese may develop a burnt, brothy flavor during aging. Metabolism of the starter cultures may
be responsible for the development of this flavor. The metabolism of the starter is controlled in part by
the salt in moisture of the cheese. The lower salt in water content of low fat cheese does not inhibit the
starter cultures and the unrestricted growth of the starter may be responsible for the burnt, brothy flavor.

This project investigates three ways in which more control can be exerted over starter cultures during
storage and aging of low fat cheddar cheese. (1) Use starter cultures that are sensitive to salt such as
Streptococcus thermophilus and salt-sensitive Lactococcus lactis (2) Use lower temperatures of
ripening (3) Use salt-tolerant Lactococcus lactis culture and with sodium gluconate added to inhibit
starter culture growth during storage. All cheeses will be stored for 9 months with analysis of bacterial
microflora every month and sensory flavor and volatile chemical analysis for burnt brothy flavor and
presence of furanones at 3, 6 and 9 months of age.

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