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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Origin of Cheese Flavors

Author
item Tunick, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 22, 2004
Publication Date: August 21, 2004
Citation: Tunick, M.H. Origin of cheese flavors. AOCS Meeting Abstract. Phila.,PA

Technical Abstract: Cheese flavors arise from the enzymatic degradation of carbohydrates, proteins, and triacylglycerols during aging, and are influenced by composition, manufacturing parameters, and storage conditions. Lactate and citrate, the salts of the organic acids in cheese, are metabolized by starter bacteria and nonstarter microflora, resulting in flavor compounds such as acetate, diacetyl, and 2,3-butanediol. Proteolysis of casein results in formation of peptides and free amino acids (FAA); FAA and the smaller peptides are partly responsible for bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami taste descriptors. Triacylglycerols are hydrolyzed to mono- and diglycerides, glycerol, and free fatty acids (FFA); short- and intermediate-chain FFA such as butyric acid and capric acid provide characteristic flavors. In addition, FAA and FFA serve as substrates for catabolic reactions which result in a large variety of highly flavored compounds, including esters and lactones. Compounds originating in pasture plants and feed rations, including long-chain aldehydes and terpenoids, may also affect flavor. Hundreds of acids, aldehydes, esters, ketones, and other compounds are formed from chemical reactions that constantly occur in cheese, and are responsible for the unique flavor of this product.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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