The selection of proper (adjunct)starter cultures for cheese is a key element for influencing flavour formation during cheese production. NIZO has various advanced ingenious in-food screening tools for fast culture selection. These high-throughput MicroFood models enable precise characterization of e.g. acidification, lysis and flavour enzyme activities of bacterial and yeast strains.

A previous collaborative EU-funded project, coordinated by NIZO, resulted in the development of defined tailor-made smear starter cultures for surface-ripened cheeses. By assembling and characterizing an extensive collection of smear micro-organisms improved defined surface starters for cheeses, such as Tilsit and Danbo, could be constructed. The approach applied also has excellent potential for the development of smear cheeses with novel flavour properties.

A recent study at NIZO focussed on NSLAB strains that were isolated from various Dutch Gouda-type cheeses. Various species, such as L. paracasei, L. (para)buchneri and L. brevis, could be identified. Testing of such species in NIZO’s MicroCheese model showed diverse metabolic capacities and consequently flavour forming properties. The model thus enables targeted selection of strains with desired properties.

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