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J Dairy Sci. 2006 Jan;89(1):95-110.

Improvement of texture and structure of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese by exopolysaccharide-producing lactococci.

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STELA Dairy Research Centre, Pavillon Paul Comtois, Université Laval, Québec, QC, G1K 7P4, Canada.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of capsular and ropy exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing strains of Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris on textural and microstructural attributes during ripening of 50%-reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. Cheeses were manufactured with added capsule- or ropy-forming strains individually or in combination. For comparison, reduced-fat cheese with or without lecithin added at 0.2% (wt/vol) to cheese milk and full-fat cheeses were made using EPS-nonproducing starter, and all cheeses were ripened at 7 degrees C for 6 mo. Exopolysaccharide-producing strains increased cheese moisture retention by 3.6 to 4.8% and cheese yield by 0.28 to 1.19 kg/100 kg compared with control cheese, whereas lecithin-containing cheese retained 1.4% higher moisture and had 0.37 kg/100 kg higher yield over the control cheese. Texture profile analyses for 0-d-old cheeses revealed that cheeses with EPS-producing strains had less firm, springy, and cohesive texture but were more brittle than control cheeses. However, these effects became less pronounced after 6 mo of ripening. Using transmission electron microscopy, fresh and aged cheeses with added EPS-producing strains showed a less compact protein matrix through which larger whey pockets were dispersed compared with control cheese. The numerical analysis of transmission electron microscopy images showed that the area in the cheese matrix occupied by protein was smaller in cheeses with added EPS-producing strains than in control cheese. On the other hand, lecithin had little impact on both cheese texture and microstructure; after 6 mo, cheese containing lecithin showed a texture profile very close to that of control reduced-fat cheese. The protein-occupied area in the cheese matrix did not appear to be significantly affected by lecithin addition. Exopolysaccharide-producing strains could contribute to the modification of cheese texture and microstructure and thus modify the functional properties of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese.

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