InBrine – Influence of brine microbiota on flavor development and inhibition of spoilage moulds on Danish cheeses

The main objective of the project will be to map and identify the entire microbiota of brines used for salting of cheese. Additionally, it aims to optimize the brine in order to improve flavor development and through bioprotection to ensure the shelf life and quality of Danish cheeses.
This will be pursued by optimizing the existing brine microbiota and by using the obtained knowledge to develop new secondary starter cultures to enhance quality, shelf life and safety of the cheeses. Through the project new knowledge on the importance of the brine will be gained and relevant measures to continuously ensure brine quality will be implemented.

By: Grith Mortensen

The objective will be achieved through five work packages: WP1) revealing the entire brine microbiota through Illumina sequencing (”BriOmics”), isolating non-culturable brine microorganisms and establishing a Cheese Brine Culture Bank, WP2) characterizing relevant technological properties of selected brine cultures; WP3) studying the impact of selected brine cultures on flavor development; WP4) understanding mechanisms of interactions, at both physiological and genomic levels, in order to ensure optimal inhibition of spoilage moulds on cheese surfaces and WP5) verifying the results by production of surface ripened, semi-hard cheeses at pilot and/or industrial scales, including development of specific industrial recommendations for optimal brine handling.

Revealing the full potential of the brine microbiota and its interactions on cheese surfaces will lead to an increased understanding of the importance of brining; facilitate development of secondary starter cultures, and release an, as yet, unexplored potential for enhancing cheese quality, focusing on flavor development and inhibition of spoilage moulds.

Project period: September 2017 - June 2022

Budget: 4.012.000 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund, Chinese PhD Student Scholarship, Nørup Dairy, Thise Dairy

Project manager: Lene Jespersen

Institution: Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen

Participants: Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Nørup Dairy, and Thise Dairy




Zhang, L., Huang, C., Malskær A.H., Jespersen, L., Arneborg, N. and Johansen, P.G. (2020). The effects of NaCl and temperature on growth and survival of yeast isolates from Danish cheese brines. Current Microbiology 77, 3377–3384. (

Chuchu Huang, Ling Zhang, Pernille Greve Johansen, Mikael Agerlin Petersen, Nils Arneborg and Lene JespersenDebaryomyces hansenii Strains Isolated From Danish Cheese Brines Act as Biocontrol Agents to Inhibit Germination and Growth of Contaminating Molds. Front. Microbiol., 15 June 2021 |