Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/11/2011
Publication Date: 5/1/2011
Citation: Paul, M., Van Hekken, D.L. 2011. Assessing antihypertensive activity in native and model queso fresco cheese. Journal of Dairy Science. 94(5):2280-2284.
Interpretive Summary: Over time, during storage or digestion, milk proteins in cheese and other dairy products will breakdown into smaller molecules. It has been shown that many milk breakdown products may be useful in lowering blood pressure. These antihypertensive compounds are inherently safe for human consumption because they originate from milk proteins and have been found in a number of cheese varieties. Increasing interest in the incorporation of health-promoting additives, like blood pressure lowering compounds, into foods that are readily available to consumers in supermarkets has led to significant work towards characterizing antihypertensive peptides in many dairy foods. There has been little work to date, however, on identifying them in the increasingly popular Hispanic-style cheeses like Queso Fresco. Hispanic-style cheeses are one of the fastest growing cheese varieties in the U. S., making up approximately 2% of the total cheese production in this country. Understanding the nature of these peptides, their structures and measuring their antihypertensive abilities provides information toward better, effective antihypertensive compounds that can be incorporated into foods. This study is aimed at evaluating the antihypertensive activity in protein extracts from Queso Fresco obtained from Mexico as well as model cheeses made in the Dairy and Functional Foods facility at the ERRC that were developed to mimic the native flavors and taste made with pasteurized milk. Assessing the natural concentrations of these compounds within items like ripened cheese provides information as to potential health benefits associated with consuming particular foods.
Technical Abstract: Hispanic-style cheeses are one of the fastest growing cheese varieties in the U. S., making up approximately 2% of the total cheese production in this country. Of these varieties, Queso Fresco is one of most popular Hispanic-style cheeses. Protein extracts from a number of varieties of Mexican Queso Fresco and model Queso Fresco cheeses were analyzed for potential antihypertensive activity. Many Queso Frescos obtained from Mexico are made from raw milk and therefore the native microflora is included in the cheese-making process. Model Queso Fresco samples were made from pasteurized milk and did not utilize starter cultures. Water-soluble protein extracts from six Mexican Queso Frescos and twelve model cheeses were obtained and assayed for the ability to inhibit the ACE enzyme, implying potential as foods that can help to lower blood pressure. All model cheeses displayed antihypertensive activity, but mainly after eight weeks of aging when they are no longer consumable, while the Mexican samples did display some ACE inhibitory action with minimal aging.