MetaCheese – From cheese microbiome to robust cheese making processes

Industrial cheese making is dependent on a complex society of microorganisms, the cheese microbiome, which partly derives from added starter cultures. The remainder derives from the milk and the “house flora” residing in the dairy, e.g. in the brine or the heater. As these microbial constituents of the cheese are modified, it has consequences on the outcome of the cheese making process.

By: Grith Mortensen

The MetaCheese project proposes to adopt a multi-omics approach (metabolomics, metagenomics & metatranscriptomics) in order to elucidate the role of the individual components of the cheese microbiome on flavor formation and other quality parameters, that are varied when cheese is produced on the industrial scale.
Specifically, the project participants will investigate the effect of changing the following process parameters:

  • The influence of the dairy/cheese vat: Using same starter culture in two different dairies and in different cheese vats in same dairy.
  • The influence of the milk’s background: Using same starter culture with filtered vs unfiltered milk, with different milk batches in same season and with cheese made in different seasons of the year.
  • The influence of different ripening cultures.
  • The influence of saline concentration.

Project period: January 2019 - December 2021

Budget: 6.396.000 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund, In-kind and financing from participating partners

Project manager: Thomas Gilbert

Institution: GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen 

Participants: Chr. Hansen A/S, Arla Foods Strategic Innovation Centre, and GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen