Biochemistry and enzymology of cheese ripening

The Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Food under the National Development Plan with the aim of supporting research, development and innovation in the Irish food industry. FIRM provides a strategic framework for institutional research in generic technologies aimed at supporting innovation and product development in the Irish food industry. It provides funding for "public good" research that is neither commissioned nor carried out in-house by individual firms. The results of the research are widely disseminated for the benefit of the food industry by the individual research teams and by RELAY, the national dissemination service charged with communicating the results of publicly funded food research to the Irish food industry. The following project is supported under the FIRM programme:

Understanding the biochemistry and enzymology of cheese ripening and development of novel strategies to enhance the biogenesis of cheese flavour

The partners in this FIRM-funded project are University College Cork (Prof PLH McSweeney, coordinator), Teagasc, Moorepark (Dr KN Kilcawley), University of Limerick (Dr MG Wilkinson), and Dairygold Cooperative Society Limited.

The specific objectives of this project are:
  • To assess the effects of various pre-treatments of cheesemilk on the ripening of cheese made therefrom.
  • To study the incorporation, distribution and release of ripening enzymes in cheese curd and factors that affect the dispersal of enzymes through cheese curd.

  • To assess the potential of liposomes for the acceleration of cheese ripening.

  • To identify LAB or yeasts suitable for use as adjuncts to improve cheese quality.

  • To study novel methods for accelerating cheese ripening and improving cheese flavour including increasing levels of all important ripening enzymes concomitantly, enhancing amino acid catabolism in cheese during ripening and by the use of flavour enhancers.

This project commenced on January 1, 2005 and progress reports and information fact sheets (below) are published regularly by RELAY.