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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Origins of Cheese Flavor

Author
item Tunick, Michael

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2005
Publication Date: July 10, 2007
Citation: Tunick, M.H. 2007. Origins of cheese flavor. In: Cadwallader, K.R., Drake, M.A., and McGorrin, R.J. editors. Flavors of Dairy Research. Washington, DC. ACS Symposium Series 971. American Chemical Society Abstracts. p.155-173.

Technical Abstract: The flavor of cheese is affected by many factors, including milk quality stemming from the diet of the animals, processing parameters such as pasteurization and addition of salt, and enzymatic and chemical reactions that occur as the cheese ages. Lactose and citrate are metabolized by lactic acid bacteria to form a number of important compounds, including acetoin, 2,3-butanediol, and diacetyl, which generate buttery, cheesy flavors. Proteolysis of casein by coagulant, plasmin, and other enzymes leads to the production of acids, alcohols, aldehydes, amines, and amino acids, which bring about alcoholic, fatty, and green flavor notes. The breakdown of aromatic, branched-chain, and sulfur-containing amino acids also produces flavor compounds, many of which are undesirable. Triacylglycerols are lipolyzed into fatty acids, which impart pungent, cheesy flavors. Fatty acids can then be converted into methyl ketones, secondary alcohols, lactones, esters, and other compounds, which are responsible for earthy, floral, fruity, and rancid flavors. An array of compounds contributes to the unique flavor characteristics of each cheese variety.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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