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Characterization of aromatic properties of old-style cheese starters

Lacroix, N., St-Gelais, D., Champagne, C.P., Fortin, J., Vuillemard, J.C.
Journal of dairy science 2010 v.93 no.8 pp. 3427-3441
ornithine, odor compounds, food composition, odors, milk curds, proline, food quality, cheese starters, model food systems, diacetyl, traditional technology, quantitative analysis, gamma-aminobutyric acid, leucine, free amino acids, Cheddar cheese, phenylalanine, glutamic acid
Old-style cheese starters were evaluated to determine their ability to produce cheese aroma compounds. Detailed analyses of the aroma-producing potential of 13 old-style starter cultures were undertaken. The proteolytic profile of the starters was established by an accelerated ripening study using a model cheese slurry and compared with those of a commercial aromatic starter and commercial Cheddar cheeses. To evaluate the aromatic potential of the starter cultures, quantification of free amino acids liberated and volatile compounds after 15 d of ripening at 30°C as well as sensory analysis were carried out. Results showed that proteolysis patterns of all 13 starter cultures in the curd model were comparable to those of commercial Cheddar cheeses. All tested cultures demonstrated the ability to produce high amounts of amino acids recognized as precursors of aroma compounds. Several differences were observed between the starters and commercial Cheddar cheeses regarding some amino acids such as glutamate, leucine, phenylalanine, proline, and ornithine, reflecting the various enzymatic systems present in the starters. Starters Bt (control) and ULAAC-E exhibited various significant differences regarding their free amino acid profiles, as confirmed by sensory analysis. In addition, identification of volatile compounds confirmed the presence of several key molecules related to aroma, such as 3-methylbutanal and diacetyl. Besides the aroma-producing aspect, 2 starters (ULAAC-A and ULAAC-H) seem to possess an important ability to generate large amounts of γ-aminobutyric acid, which contributed up to 15% of the total amino acids present in the model curd after 15 d ripening. γ-Aminobutyric acid is an amine well-known for its antihypertensive and calming effects.