• Application of Probiotic Bacteria to Functional Foods

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Collins, K.; McBrearty, S.; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Desmond, C.; Kelly, J.; Bouchier, Paul J.; Lawless, Fergal; et al. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Probiotic cultures are described as live microbial feed supplements that improve intestinal microbial balance and are intended for maintenance of health or prevention, rather than the curing of disease. The demand for probiotic foods is increasing in Europe, Japan and the U.S. reflecting the heightened awareness among the public of the relationship between diet and health. Traditionally, the most popular food delivery systems for these cultures have been freshly fermented dairy foods, such as yogurts and fermented milks, as well as unfermented milks with cultures added. However, in the development of functional foods, the technological suitability of probiotic strains poses a serious challenge since their survival and viability may be adversely affected by processing conditions as well as by the product environment and storage conditions. This is a particular concern, given that high levels (at least 107 per gram or ml) of live micro-organisms are recommended for probiotic products. In previous studies (see DPRC No. 29) the successful manufacture of probiotic Cheddar cheese harbouring high levels (>108 cfu/g) of the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei NFBC 338 strain was reported. Hence, the overall objective of these studies was to continue the development and evaluation of Functional Foods containing high levels of viable probiotic bacteria, with particular emphasis on overcoming the technological barriers and the identification of strains suited to particular applications, such as incorporation into Cheddar cheese and spray-dried powders.
    • Identification of the key compounds responsible for Cheddar cheese flavour

      Beresford, Tom; Wallace, J.; Aherne, Seamus; Drinan, Finbarr; Eason, D.; Corcoran, M.O.; Mulholland, E.; Hannon, John A. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      There is a poor understanding of the relationship between organoleptic assessment of cheese and quantitative analysis of flavour compounds. Further, the contribution of particular cheese-making parameters such as ripening temperature and starter culture has not been fully elucidated. During the ripening of most cheese varieties complex chemical conversions occur within the cheese matrix. In most cheese varieties breakdown of protein is the most important flavour development pathway. The primary cheese protein, casein, is degraded enzymatically to short peptides and free amino acids. The agents primarily responsible for these conversions are the residual rennet that is retained in the cheese curd at the end of the manufacturing phase and the proteinases and peptidases that are associated with the starter bacteria. While the rate and degree of proteolysis are of vital significance for desired flavour development, the direct products of proteolysis do not fully define cheese flavour. Much research is now demonstrating that the further biochemical and chemical conversions of the products of proteolysis, in particular the amino acids, are necessary for full flavour development. The products produced by these pathways are volatile at low boiling points and are thus released during mastication of the cheese in the mouth. Many of these volatile compounds contribute to the flavour sensation experienced by the consumer. A very wide spectrum of such compounds have been isolated from cheese, in excess of two hundred in some cheese varieties. It is now generally accepted that there is no individual compound which defines cheese flavour completely and that the flavour sensation is the result of numerous compounds present in the correct proportions. This has become known as the Component Balance Theory . The application of modern analytical techniques as proposed in this project would provide a greater understanding of the significant flavour compounds in Cheddar cheese and help to identify the impact of specific cheese-making parameters such as starter flora and ripening temperature on the production of volatile flavour compounds. This data would assist the general programme on flavour improvement of cheese which should ultimately benefit the cheese manufacturer. Hence this project set out to develop methods to identify the key flavour compounds in Cheddar cheese. These techniques would then be applied to experimental and commercial cheeses during ripening in an effort to identify key compounds and the influence of starter cultures and ripening temperature on their production.