Microstructure and fracture properties of semi-hard cheese: differentiating the effects of primary proteolysis and calcium solubilization
Kelly, Alan L.
Sheehan, Jeremiah J.
The individual roles of hydrolysis of αS1- and β-caseins, and calcium solubilization on the fracture properties of semi-hard cheeses, such as Maasdam and other eye-type cheeses, remain unclear. In this study, the hydrolysis patterns of casein were selectively altered by adding a chymosin inhibitor to the curd/whey mixture during cheese manufacture, by substituting fermentation-produced bovine chymosin (FPBC) with fermentation-produced camel chymosin (FPCC), or by modulating ripening temperature. Moreover, the level of insoluble calcium during ripening was quantified in all cheeses. Addition of a chymosin inhibitor, substitution of FPBC with FPCC, or ripening of cheeses at a consistent low temperature (8 °C) decreased the hydrolysis of αS1-casein by ~95%, ~45%, or ~30%, respectively, after 90 d of ripening, whereas ~35% of β-casein was hydrolysed in that time for all cheeses, except for those ripened at a lower temperature (~17%). The proportion of insoluble calcium as a percentage of total calcium decreased significantly from ~75% to ~60% between 1 and 90 d. The rigidity or strength of the cheese matrix was found to be higher (as indicated by higher fracture stress) in cheeses with lower levels of proteolysis or higher levels of intact caseins, primarily αS1-casein. However, contrary to the expectation that shortness of cheese texture is associated with αS1-casein hydrolysis, fracture strain was significantly positively correlated with the level of intact β-casein and insoluble calcium content, indicating that the cheeses with low levels of intact β-casein or insoluble calcium content were more likely to be shorter in texture (i.e., lower fracture strain). Overall, this study suggests that the fracture properties of cheese can be modified by selective hydrolysis of caseins, altering the level of insoluble calcium or both. Such approaches could be applied to design cheese with specific properties.
Cheese , Proteolysis , Insoluble calcium , Fracture properties , Microstructure , Split or crack defect
Lamichhane, P., Sharma, P., Kennedy, D., Kelly, A. L., and Sheehan, J. J. (2019) 'Microstructure and fracture properties of semi-hard cheese: differentiating the effects of primary proteolysis and calcium solubilization', Food Research International, 125, 108385 (10pp). doi: 110.1016/j.foodres.2019.108525