The main research objectives of this proposal are :
- to investigate the metabolism of food-grade microorganisms implicated in the
biosynthesis of sulfur-containing flavour compounds and the metabolic products
formed in pure and mixed culture;
- to assess the interaction between individual flavourants and other components of
multi-phase food matrixes using a range of physico-chemical and sensory
- to validate the results on cheeses or by de novo flavour formulation;
- to identify those bacterial strains which are capable of producing the flavours in
quantities sufficient for industrial manufacture and finally,
- to evaluate the feasibility of biotechnological methods for their production.%
To achieve these objectives a significant synthetic effort will also be required because very few sulfur-containing flavour compounds of interest are currently available commercially.
The successful implementation of these scientific objectives is a necessary background for the development of technical applications such as :
- introduction of screening methodology for sulfur compound producing strains;
- control of flavour characteristics of cheeses;
- selection of overproducing strains and culture conditions to develop new
sources of natural flavours;
- establishment of guidelines for the use of the sulfur flavour compounds in
complex flavour formulations.
All these developments are required for rational design and introduction of new speciality cheeses, thus offering to the consumer a wider range of high standard foods.
Soft cheeses are enjoyed by a large proportion of the adult population in Europe but they have an even greater potential for innovation potential because of the numerous variations they allow for both texture and flavours. To date their consumption is limited to the production area. However, the extension of production sites to other geographical regions, and other EC countries, is rather limited because the technology still relies on the craft and know-how of the traditional cheese-makers. The major problem to be overcome is irregularity in the quality of soft chesses, which mainly depends on the quality of regional milk itself and the initial microbial load. Pasteurisation of the milks although offering improved microbial safety of cheeses does also lead to complication in the control of the flavours and hence the quality of the final product. This constitutes the major challenge for the food industry today : to maintain the traditional quality and at the same time to provide even better variety whilst ensuring the highest level of food safety.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
RG6 2EF Reading
78125 La Boissiere Ecole
77260 La Ferte Sous Jouarre