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J Dairy Sci. 2000 Oct;83(10):2173-83.

The effect of fat content on the microbiology and proteolysis in cheddar cheese during ripening dairy foods.

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  • 1Dairy Products Research Centre, Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland.


We investigated the effect of incremental reduction in fat content, in the range 33 to 6% (wt/wt), on changes in the microbiology and proteolysis of Cheddar cheese, over a 225-d ripening period at 7 degrees C. A reduction of fat content resulted in significant increases in contents of moisture and protein and a decrease in the concentration of moisture in nonfat substance. Reduced fat had little effect on the age-related changes in the population of starter cells. The populations of nonstarter lactic acid bacteria decreased with fat content, and counts in the low fat cheese (6% wt/wt) were significantly lower than those in the full fat cheese (33% wt/wt) at ripening times >1 and <180 d. Proteolysis as measured by the percentage of total N soluble at pH 4.6 or in 70% ethanol decreased significantly as the fat content decreased. However, the content of pH 4.6 soluble N per 100 g of cheese was not significantly influenced by fat content. At ripening times >60 d, the content of 70% ethanol soluble N per 100 g of full fat (33% wt/wt) cheese was significantly lower than that in either the half fat (17% wt/wt) or low fat (6% wt/wt) cheeses. The concentration of AA N, as a percentage of total N, was not significantly affected by fat content. However, when expressed as a percentage of total cheese, amino acid N increased significantly with decreasing fat content. Analysis of pH 4.6 soluble N extracts by reverse phase- and gel permeation HPLC revealed that fat content affected the pattern of proteolysis, as reflected by the differences in peptide profiles.

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