The core objective of the Food Biosciences Department is to engage in advanced research and technology development in support of the Irish Agri-Food industry sector. Activities fall into three research areas: Food for Health; Cheese Microbiology and Biochemistry and Milk and Product Quality.

News

Food Biosciences

Recent Submissions

  • Symposium review: Genomic investigations of flavor formation by dairy microbiota

    McAuliffe, Olivia; Kilcawley, Kieran N; Stefanovic, Ewelina; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship programme; Dairy Research Ireland; IRCSET; EU Marie Curie Actions Clarin Co-Fund (Elsevier, 2018-10-19)
    Flavor is one of the most important attributes of any fermented dairy product. Dairy consumers are known to be willing to experiment with different flavors; thus, many companies producing fermented dairy products have looked at culture manipulation as a tool for flavor diversification. The development of flavor is a complex process, originating from a combination of microbiological, biochemical, and technological aspects. A key driver of flavor is the enzymatic activities of the deliberately inoculated starter cultures, in addition to the environmental or “nonstarter” microbiota. The contribution of microbial metabolism to flavor development in fermented dairy products has been exploited for thousands of years, but the availability of the whole genome sequences of the bacteria and yeasts involved in the fermentation process and the possibilities now offered by next-generation sequencing and downstream “omics” technologies is stimulating a more knowledge-based approach to the selection of desirable cultures for flavor development. By linking genomic traits to phenotypic outputs, it is now possible to mine the metabolic diversity of starter cultures, analyze the metabolic routes to flavor compound formation, identify those strains with flavor-forming potential, and select them for possible commercial application. This approach also allows for the identification of species and strains not previously considered as potential flavor-formers, the blending of strains with complementary metabolic pathways, and the potential improvement of key technological characteristics in existing strains, strains that are at the core of the dairy industry. An in-depth knowledge of the metabolic pathways of individual strains and their interactions in mixed culture fermentations can allow starter blends to be custom-made to suit industry needs. Applying this knowledge to starter culture research programs is enabling research and development scientists to develop superior starters, expand flavor profiles, and potentially develop new products for future market expansion.
  • Comparison of antioxidant activities of bovine whey proteins before and after simulated gastrointestinal digestion

    Corrochano, Alberto R.; Sariçay, Yunus; Arranz, Elena; Kelly, Philip M.; Buckin, Vitaly; Giblin, Linda; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 13 F 354-WheyGSH (Elsevier, 2018-10-24)
    Oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been implicated in several human disorders. Dietary antioxidants can help the body to counteract those reactive species and reduce oxidative stress. Antioxidant activity is one of the multiple health-promoting attributes assigned to bovine whey products. The present study investigated whether this activity was retained during upper gut transit using a static simulated in vitro gastrointestinal digestion (SGID) model. The capacity to scavenge free radicals and reduce ferric ion of whey protein isolate (WPI), individual whey proteins, and hydrolysates pre- and post-SGID were measured and compared using various antioxidant assays. In addition, the free AA released from individual protein fractions in physiological gut conditions were characterized. Our results indicated that the antioxidant activity of WPI after exposure to the harsh conditions of the upper gut significantly increased compared with intact WPI. From an antioxidant bioactivity viewpoint, this exposure negates the need for prior hydrolysis of WPI. The whey protein α-lactalbumin showed the highest antioxidant properties post-SGID (oxygen radical absorbance capacity = 1,825.94 ± 50.21 μmol of Trolox equivalents/g of powder) of the 4 major whey proteins tested with the release of the highest amount of the antioxidant AA tryptophan, 6.955 μmol of tryptophan/g of protein. Therefore, α-lactalbumin should be the preferred whey protein in food formulations to boost antioxidant defenses.
  • Fructooligosaccharides integrity after atmospheric cold plasma and high-pressure processing of a functional orange juice

    Lima Almeida, Francisca Diva; Gomes, Wesley Faria; Cavalcante, Rosane; Tiwari, Brijesh; Cullen, Patrick J.; Frias, Jesus; Bourke, Paula; Fernandes, Fabiano A.N.; Rodrigues, Sueli; National Council of Technological and Scientific Development (Elsevier, 2017-10-02)
    In this study, the effect of atmospheric pressure cold plasma and high-pressure processing on the prebiotic orange juice was evaluated. Orange juice containing 7 g/100 g of commercial fructooligosaccharides (FOS) was directly and indirectly exposed to a plasma discharge at 70 kV with processing times of 15, 30, 45 and 60 s. For high-pressure processing, the juice containing the same concentration of FOS was treated at 450 MPa for 5 min at 11.5 °C in an industrial equipment (Hyperbaric, model: 300). After the treatments, the fructooligosaccharides were qualified and quantified by thin layer chromatography. The organic acids and color analysis were also evaluated. The maximal overall fructooligosaccharides degradation was found after high-pressure processing. The total color difference was < 3.0 for high-pressure and plasma processing. citric and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) showed increased content after plasma and high-pressure treatment. Thus, atmospheric pressure cold plasma and high-pressure processing can be used as non-thermal alternatives to process prebiotic orange juice.
  • CLA-producing adjunct cultures improve the nutritional value of sheep cheese fat

    Renes, Erica; Gómez-Cortés, Pilar; de la Fuente, Miguel Ángel; Linares, Daniel M.; Tornadijo, M. Eugenia; Fresno, J.M.; University of León; Juan de la Cierva research contract (Elsevier, 2018-09-10)
    The influence of the autochthonous CLA-producing Lactobacillus plantarum TAUL 1588 and Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei SS 1644 strains and the ripening time on the fatty acid (FA) content and sensory characteristics of sheep cheese were investigated. Three cheese types with different cultures and the control cheese were produced in duplicate and ripened for 8 months. 86 individual FA were determined by gas chromatography. Ripening time (2, 90, 180 and 240 days) did not have a significant effect (P > .05) on the FA content. However, the presence of both Lactobacillus CLA-producing strains led to a decrease of the saturated FA content and to 1.30, 1.19 and 1.27 times higher levels of vaccenic acid, CLA and omega-3, respectively, when compared to the control cheese. This combination allowed obtaining sheep milk cheeses with a healthier FA content, without appreciable changes on sensory characteristics. This work could be a promising approach to increase the bioactive fatty acid content of cheeses.
  • Antioxidant Activity and Phytochemical Characterization of Senecio clivicolus Wedd.

    Faraone, Immacolata; Rai, Dilip; Chiummiento, Lucia; Fernandez, Eloy; Choudhary, Alka; Prinzo, Prinzo; Milella, Luigi; University of Basilicata; D.G.R. 1490 (MDPI, 2018-09-29)
    Antioxidant phytochemicals play a key role in oxidative stress control and in the prevention of related disorders, such as premature aging, degenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential antioxidant activity and the phytochemical profile of Senecio clivicolus Wedd., a perennial shrub, belonging to the Asteraceae family. Despite the wide interest of this family, this specie has not been investigated yet. S. clivicolus aerial parts were extracted with 96% ethanol. Then, the ethanol extract was fractionated by liquid/liquid extraction using an increasing solvents polarity. Total polyphenol and terpenoid contents were measured. Moreover, the antioxidant activity was evaluated by six different complementary in vitro assays. The Relative Antioxidant Capacity Index (RACI) was used to compare data obtained by different tests. The sample showing the highest RACI was subjected to characterization and quantitation of its phenolic composition using LC-MS/MS analysis. The ethyl acetate fraction, investigated by LC-MS/MS analysis, showed 30 compounds, most of them are chlorogenic acid and flavonoid derivatives. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report about the evaluation of antioxidant activity and phytochemical profile of S. clivicolus, underlying the importance of this species as a source of health-promoting phytochemicals
  • Conjugated linoleic acid production and probiotic assessment of Lactobacillus plantarum isolated from Pico cheese

    Ribeiro, Susana C.; Stanton, Catherine; Yang, Bo; Ross, R Paul; Silva, Célia C.G.; Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia; Science Foundation of Ireland; Fundo Regional para a Ciência e Tecnologia; PTDC/AGR-ALI/104385/2008; M3.1.2/F/011/2011 (Elsevier, 2017-12-29)
    Lactic acid bacteria isolated from a traditional Azorean cheese were screened for their ability to convert free linoleic acid to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Two strains of Lactobacillus plantarum were recognized as potential CLA producers. GC analysis identified cis-9, trans-11 C18:2 as the predominant isomer (10–14 μg/mL), followed by trans-9, trans-11 C18:2 (4–6 μg/mL). The CLA producing strains demonstrated strong biofilm capacity, high cell surface hydrophobicity and good auto-aggregation ability. These strains were capable of surviving in the presence of bile salts (0.3%) and pancreatin (0.1%), but only the highest CLA producer (L3C1E8) was able to resist low pH (2.5). Moreover, the CLA-producers showed good adhesion capacity to intestinal human cells (Caco-2 and HT-29) and were able to prevent colonization of Escherichia coli. Of the two strains, Lactobacillus plantarum L3C1E8 revealed superior probiotic properties and great potential for producing food products enriched in the two CLA isomers, cis-9, trans-11 C18:2 (60%) and trans-9, trans-11 C18:2 (25%).
  • Simulated gastrointestinal digestion of nisin and interaction between nisin and bile

    Gough, Ronan; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Gómez-Sala, Beatriz; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Brodkorb, Andre; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 10/RD/TMFRC/701 (Elsevier, 2017-08-14)
    Nisin, an antimicrobial peptide showing activity against many Gram positive bacteria, is widely used as a food preservative. The simulated gastrointestinal digestion of nisin (variant A) was studied using the in vitro INFOGEST digestion method. Following oral, gastric and small intestinal digestion, there was no intact nisin in the system and the nisin was primarily digested by pancreatin. After digestion, six nisin fragments (1–11, 1–12, 1–20, 1–21, 1–29 and 1–32) were identified by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy and four of these nisin fragments (1–20, 1–21, 1–29 and 1–32) demonstrated low antibacterial activity against Lactococcus lactis HP in agar diffusion activity assays. Additionally, it was observed that bile salts form a complex with nisin. This was examined by atomic force microscopy, turbidity and dynamic light scattering, which showed that this interaction resulted in significantly larger bile salt micelles. The presence of bile salts at physiological levels significantly altered the relative amounts of the nisin fragments 1–12, 1–20 and 1–29 produced during an in vitro digestion. This study highlights the importance of including bile in simulated digestions of antimicrobial peptides in order to obtain a more accurate simulation of the in vivo digestion products and their activity.
  • Prebiotics from Seaweeds: An Ocean of Opportunity?

    Cherry, Paul; Yadav, Supriya; Strain, Conall R.; Allsopp, Philip J.; McSorley, Emeir M.; Ross, R Paul; Stanton, Catherine; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 13F511 (PREMARA) (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
    Abstract Seaweeds are an underexploited and potentially sustainable crop which offer a rich source of bioactive compounds, including novel complex polysaccharides, polyphenols, fatty acids, and carotenoids. The purported efficacies of these phytochemicals have led to potential functional food and nutraceutical applications which aim to protect against cardiometabolic and inflammatory risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and some cancers. Concurrent understanding that perturbations of gut microbial composition and metabolic function manifest throughout health and disease has led to dietary strategies, such as prebiotics, which exploit the diet-host-microbe paradigm to modulate the gut microbiota, such that host health is maintained or improved. The prebiotic definition was recently updated to “a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”, which, given that previous discussion regarding seaweed prebiotics has focused upon saccharolytic fermentation, an opportunity is presented to explore how non-complex polysaccharide components from seaweeds may be metabolised by host microbial populations to benefit host health. Thus, this review provides an innovative approach to consider how the gut microbiota may utilise seaweed phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and carotenoids, and provides an updated discussion regarding the catabolism of seaweed-derived complex polysaccharides with potential prebiotic activity. Additional in vitro screening studies and in vivo animal studies are needed to identify potential prebiotics from seaweeds, alongside untargeted metabolomics to decipher microbial-derived metabolites from seaweeds. Furthermore, controlled human intervention studies with health-related end points to elucidate prebiotic efficacy are required.
  • Analysis of Health Benefits Conferred by Lactobacillus Species from Kefir

    Cotter, Paul D.; Slattery, Conor; O'Toole, Paul W.; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; APC Microbiome Ireland; Vistamilk; Enterprise Ireland; European Union; 818368 (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
    Lactobacilli are among the most common microorganisms found in kefir; a traditional fermented milk beverage produced locally in many locations around the world. Kefir has been associated with a wide range of purported health benefits; such as antimicrobial activity; cholesterol metabolism; immunomodulation; anti-oxidative effects; anti-diabetic effects; anti-allergenic effects; and tumor suppression. This review critically examines and assesses these claimed benefits and mechanisms with regard to particular Lactobacillus species and/or strains that have been derived from kefir; as well as detailing further potential avenues for experimentation.
  • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

    Gough, Ronan; Cabrera-Rubio, Raúl; O'Connor, Paula M.; Crispie, Fiona; Brodkorb, André; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Ross, Reynolds P.; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka N.; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-06-15)
    There is a growing recognition of the role the gastrointestinal microbiota plays in health and disease. Ingested antimicrobial proteins and peptides have the potential to alter the gastrointestinal microbiota; particularly if protected from digestion. Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide that is used as a food preservative. This study examined the ability of nisin to affect the murine microbiota when fed to mice in two different starch based matrices; a starch dough comprising raw starch granules and a starch gel comprising starch that was gelatinized and retrograded. The effects of the two starch matrices by themselves on the microbiota were also examined. Following 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, beta diversity analysis highlighted a significant difference (p = 0.001, n = 10) in the murine microbiota between the four diet groups. The differences between the two nisin containing diets were mainly attributable to differences in the nisin release from the starch matrices while the differences between the carriers were mainly attributable to the type of resistant starch they possessed. Indeed, the differences in the relative abundance of several genera in the mice consuming the starch dough and starch gel diets, in particular Akkermansia, the relative abundance of which was 0.5 and 11.9%, respectively (p = 0.0002, n = 10), points to the potential value of resistance starch as a modulator of beneficial gut microbes. Intact nisin and nisin digestion products (in particular nisin fragment 22–31) were detected in the feces and the nisin was biologically active. However, despite a three-fold greater consumption of nisin in the group fed the nisin in starch dough diet, twice as much nisin was detected in the feces of the group which consumed the nisin in starch gel diet. In addition, the relative abundance of three times as many genera from the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were significantly different (p < 0.001, n = 10) to the control for the group fed the nisin in starch gel diet, implying that the starch gel afforded a degree of protection from digestion to the nisin entrapped within it.
  • Reincarnation of Bacteriocins From the Lactobacillus Pangenomic Graveyard

    Collins, Fergus W. J.; Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/227 (Frontiers, 2018-07-02)
    Bacteria commonly produce narrow spectrum bacteriocins as a means of inhibiting closely related species competing for similar resources in an environment. The increasing availability of genomic data means that it is becoming easier to identify bacteriocins encoded within genomes. Often, however, the presence of bacteriocin genes in a strain does not always translate into biological antimicrobial activity. For example, when analysing the Lactobacillus pangenome we identified strains encoding ten pediocin-like bacteriocin structural genes which failed to display inhibitory activity. Nine of these bacteriocins were novel whilst one was identified as the previously characterized bacteriocin “penocin A.” The composition of these bacteriocin operons varied between strains, often with key components missing which are required for bacteriocin production, such as dedicated bacteriocin transporters and accessory proteins. In an effort to functionally express these bacteriocins, the structural genes for the ten pediocin homologs were cloned alongside the dedicated pediocin PA-1 transporter in both Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus paracasei heterologous hosts. Each bacteriocin was cloned with its native leader sequence and as a fusion protein with the pediocin PA-1 leader sequence. Several of these bacteriocins displayed a broader spectrum of inhibition than the original pediocin PA-1. We show how potentially valuable bacteriocins can easily be “reincarnated” from in silico data and produced in vitro despite often lacking the necessary accompanying machinery. Moreover, the study demonstrates how genomic datasets such as the Lactobacilus pangenome harbor a potential “arsenal” of antimicrobial activity with the possibility of being activated when expressed in more genetically amenable hosts.
  • Optimised protein recovery from mackerel whole fish by using sequential acid/alkaline isoelectric solubilization precipitation (ISP) extraction assisted by ultrasound

    Álvarez, Carlos; Lélu, Pauline; Lynch, Sarah; Tiwari, Brijesh K.; National Development Plan 2007–2013; MFFRI/07/01 (Elsevier, 2017-10-04)
    The growing fishery industry needs to find new green-processes in order to provide a solution to the huge amount of wastes and by-products that such industrial activity produces. Currently, around a 40% of the total weight of the mackerel is considered a by-product, because just the fillets are used in the food market. ISP method has been revealed as a useful tool for protein recovering, however the yield of this process is traditionally lower than enzymatic methods. In present work, the use of sequential acid/alkaline extraction and alkaline extraction assisted by ultrasound, have been implemented in order to increase the yield of the process. It has been demonstrated that (i) sequential extraction is able to recover practically 100% of total protein, and (ii) applying ultrasound to alkaline extraction is possible to recover more than 95% of total protein from mackerel by-products. Extracted proteins were characterized according to their size, and the amino acid profile of final product was determined.
  • Strains of the Lactobacillus casei group show diverse abilities for the production of flavor compounds in 2 model systems

    Stefanovic, Ewelina; Thierry, Anne; Maillard, Marie-Bernadette; Bertuzzi, Andrea; Rea, Mary C.; Fitzgerald, Gerald; McAuliffe, Olivia; Kilcawley, Kieran N; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2017-07-12)
    Cheese flavor development is directly connected to the metabolic activity of microorganisms used during its manufacture, and the selection of metabolically diverse strains represents a potential tool for the production of cheese with novel and distinct flavor characteristics. Strains of Lactobacillus have been proven to promote the development of important cheese flavor compounds. As cheese production and ripening are long-lasting and expensive, model systems have been developed with the purpose of rapidly screening lactic acid bacteria for their flavor potential. The biodiversity of 10 strains of the Lactobacillus casei group was evaluated in 2 model systems and their volatile profiles were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In model system 1, which represented a mixture of free AA, inoculated cells did not grow. In total, 66 compounds considered as flavor contributors were successfully identified, most of which were aldehydes, acids, and alcohols produced via AA metabolism by selected strains. Three strains (DPC2071, DPC3990, and DPC4206) had the most diverse metabolic capacities in model system 1. In model system 2, which was based on processed cheese curd, inoculated cells increased in numbers over incubation time. A total of 47 compounds were identified, and they originated not only from proteolysis, but also from glycolytic and lipolytic processes. Tested strains produced ketones, acids, and esters. Although strains produced different abundances of volatiles, diversity was less evident in model system 2, and only one strain (DPC4206) was distinguished from the others. Strains identified as the most dissimilar in both of the model systems could be more useful for cheese flavor diversification.
  • Effect of milk centrifugation and incorporation of high heat-treated centrifugate on the microbial composition and levels of volatile organic compounds of Maasdam cheese

    Lamichhane, Prabin; Pietrzyk, Anna; Feehily, Conor; Cotter, Paul D.; Mannion, David T.; Kilcawley, Kieran N; Kelly, Alan L.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Dairy Levy Trust; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-03-15)
    Centrifugation is a common milk pretreatment method for removal of Clostridium spores which, on germination, can produce high levels of butyric acid and gas, resulting in rancid, gassy cheese. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of centrifugation of milk, as well as incorporation of high heat-treated centrifugate into cheese milk, on the microbial and volatile profile of Maasdam cheese. To facilitate this, 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing in combination with a selective media-based approach were used to study the microbial composition of cheese during maturation, and volatile organic compounds within the cheese matrix were analyzed by HPLC and solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Both culture-based and molecular approaches revealed major differences in microbial populations within the cheese matrix before and after warm room ripening. During warm room ripening, an increase in counts of propionic acid bacteria (by ∼101.5 cfu) and nonstarter lactic acid bacteria (by ∼108 cfu) and a decrease in the counts of Lactobacillus helveticus (by ∼102.5 cfu) were observed. Lactococcus species dominated the curd population throughout ripening, followed by Lactobacillus, Propionibacterium, and Leuconostoc, and the relative abundance of these accounted for more than 99% of the total genera, as revealed by high-throughput sequencing. Among subdominant microflora, the overall relative abundance of Clostridium sensu stricto was lower in cheeses made from centrifuged milk than control cheeses, which coincided with lower levels of butyric acid. Centrifugation as well as incorporation of high heat-treated centrifugate into cheese milk seemed to have little effect on the volatile profile of Maasdam cheese, except for butyric acid levels. Overall, this study suggests that centrifugation of milk before cheesemaking is a suitable method for controlling undesirable butyric acid fermentation without significantly altering the levels of other volatile organic compounds of Maasdam cheese.
  • Effect of different forage types on the volatile and sensory properties of bovine milk

    Faulkner, Hope; O’Callaghan, Tom F.; McAuliffe, Stephen; Hennessy, Deirdre; Stanton, Catherine; O’Sullivan, Maurice G.; Kerry, Joseph; Kilcawley, Kieran N; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13SN401 (Elsevier, 2017-12-08)
    The effect of 3 diets (grass, grass/clover, and total mixed ration) on the volatile and sensory properties of bovine milk was assessed over an entire lactation season. Little evidence was found of direct transfer of terpenes into raw milk from the different diets, and it is likely that the monocultures of ryegrass used with and without white clover were factors as these contained very few terpenes. Evidence of direct transfer of nonterpene volatiles from forage to the subsequent raw milks was probable; however, differences in the protein carbohydrate availability and digestion in the rumen appeared to have a greater contribution to volatile profiles. Pasteurization significantly altered the volatile profiles of all milks. A direct link between the milk fatty acid content, forage, and volatile products of lipid oxidation was also evident and differences in fatty acid content of milk due to forage may also have influenced the viscosity perception of milk. Irish sensory assessors preferred pasteurized milk produced from grass-fed cows, with least preference from milk produced from total mixed ration diets. β-Carotene content was significantly higher in milks derived from grass or grass/clover and appears to have directly influenced color perception. Toluene and p-cresol are both degradation products of β-carotene and along with β-carotene were identified as potential biomarkers for milk derived from pasture. The only correlation that appeared to influence the flavor of milk as determined using ranked descriptive analysis was p-cresol. P-Cresol appears to be responsible for the barnyard aroma of milk and is also likely derived from the deamination and decarboxylation of tryptophan and tyrosine due to the higher levels of available protein in the grass and grass/clover diets. The highest levels of p-cresol were in the grass/clover diets and are likely due to the degradation of the isoflavone formononetin in the rumen, which is present in white clover swards.
  • Symposium review: Lactococcus lactis from nondairy sources: Their genetic and metabolic diversity and potential applications in cheese

    McAuliffe, Olivia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Dairy Research Ireland; EU Marie Curie Actions Clarin Co-Fund; Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology; European Union (Elsevier, 2018-02-13)
    The widespread dissemination of species of the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) group in different environments testifies to their extraordinary niche adaptability. Members of the LAB are present on grass and other plant material, in dairy products, on human skin, and in the gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts. The selective pressure imparted by these specific environments is a key driver in the genomic diversity observed between strains of the same species deriving from distinct habitats. Strains that are exploited in the dairy industry for the production of fermented dairy products are often referred to as “domesticated” strains. These strains, which initially may have occupied a nondairy niche, have become specialized for growth in the milk environment. In fact, comparative genome analysis of multiple LAB species and strains has revealed a central trend in LAB evolution: the loss of ancestral genes and metabolic simplification toward adaptation to nutritionally rich environments. In contrast, “environmental” strains, or those from raw milk, plants, and animals, exhibit diverse metabolic capabilities and lifestyle characteristics compared with their domesticated counterparts. Because of the limited number of established dairy strains used in fermented food production today, demand is increasing for novel strains, with concerted efforts to mine the microbiota of natural environments for strains of technological interest. Many studies have concentrated on uncovering the genomic and metabolic potential of these organisms, facilitating comparative genome analysis of strains from diverse environments and providing insight into the natural diversity of the LAB, a group of organisms that is at the core of the dairy industry. The natural biodiversity that exists in these environments may be exploited in dairy fermentations to expand flavor profiles, to produce natural “clean label” ingredients, or to develop safer products.
  • Symposium review: Structure-function relationships in cheese

    Lamichhane, Prabin; Kelly, Alan L.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Dairy Levy Trust; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Ornua; RMIS6259 (Elsevier, 2017-10-18)
    The quality and commercial value of cheese are primarily determined by its physico-chemical properties (e.g., melt, stretch, flow, and color), specific sensory attributes (e.g., flavor, texture, and mouthfeel), usage characteristics (e.g., convenience), and nutritional properties (e.g., nutrient profile, bioavailability, and digestibility). Many of these functionalities are determined by cheese structure, requiring an appropriate understanding of the relationships between structure and functionality to design bespoke functionalities. This review provides an overview of a broad range of functional properties of cheese and how they are influenced by the structural organization of cheese components and their interactions, as well as how they are influenced by environmental factors (e.g., pH and temperature).
  • Sequencing of the Cheese Microbiome and Its Relevance to Industry

    Yeluri Jonnala, Bhagya R.; McSweeney, Paul L. H.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Cotter, Paul D.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Frontiers, 2018-05-23)
    The microbiota of cheese plays a key role in determining its organoleptic and other physico-chemical properties. It is essential to understand the various contributions, positive or negative, of these microbial components in order to promote the growth of desirable taxa and, thus, characteristics. The recent application of high throughput DNA sequencing (HTS) facilitates an even more accurate identification of these microbes, and their functional properties, and has the potential to reveal those microbes, and associated pathways, responsible for favorable or unfavorable characteristics. This technology also facilitates a detailed analysis of the composition and functional potential of the microbiota of milk, curd, whey, mixed starters, processing environments, and how these contribute to the final cheese microbiota, and associated characteristics. Ultimately, this information can be harnessed by producers to optimize the quality, safety, and commercial value of their products. In this review we highlight a number of key studies in which HTS was employed to study the cheese microbiota, and pay particular attention to those of greatest relevance to industry.
  • Detection and Enumeration of Spore-Forming Bacteria in Powdered Dairy Products

    McHugh, Aoife J.; Feehily, Conor; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Frontiers, 2017-01-31)
    With the abolition of milk quotas in the European Union in 2015, several member states including Ireland, Luxembourg, and Belgium have seen year on year bi-monthly milk deliveries to dairies increase by up to 35%. Milk production has also increased outside of Europe in the past number of years. Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding increased focus on the production of dried milk products for improved shelf life. These powders are used in a wide variety of products, including confectionery, infant formula, sports dietary supplements and supplements for health recovery. To ensure quality and safety standards in the dairy sector, strict controls are in place with respect to the acceptable quantity and species of microorganisms present in these products. A particular emphasis on spore-forming bacteria is necessary due to their inherent ability to survive extreme processing conditions. Traditional microbiological detection methods used in industry have limitations in terms of time, efficiency, accuracy, and sensitivity. The following review will explore the common spore-forming bacterial contaminants of milk powders, will review the guidelines with respect to the acceptable limits of these microorganisms and will provide an insight into recent advances in methods for detecting these microbes. The various advantages and limitations with respect to the application of these diagnostics approaches for dairy food will be provided. It is anticipated that the optimization and application of these methods in appropriate ways can ensure that the enhanced pressures associated with increased production will not result in any lessening of safety and quality standards.
  • Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bifidobacteria with Potential to Design Natural Biofunctional Health-Promoting Dairy Foods

    Linares, Daniel M.; Gómez, Carolina; Renes, Erica; Fresno, José M.; Tornadijo, María E.; Ross, R. Paul; Stanton, Catherine; JPI Food Processing for Health; Science Foundation Ireland (Frontiers, 2017-05-18)
    Consumer interest in healthy lifestyle and health-promoting natural products is a major driving force for the increasing global demand of biofunctional dairy foods. A number of commercial sources sell synthetic formulations of bioactive substances for use as dietary supplements. However, the bioactive-enrichment of health-oriented foods by naturally occurring microorganisms during dairy fermentation is in increased demand. While participating in milk fermentation, lactic acid bacteria can be exploited in situ as microbial sources for naturally enriching dairy products with a broad range of bioactive components that may cover different health aspects. Several of these bioactive metabolites are industrially and economically important, as they are claimed to exert diverse health-promoting activities on the consumer, such as anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative, immune-modulatory, anti-cholesterolemic, or microbiome modulation. This review aims at discussing the potential of these health-supporting bacteria as starter or adjunct cultures for the elaboration of dairy foods with a broad spectrum of new functional properties and added value.

View more