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2014 June
Pg 8 - The Sunshine Express
Traditional cheeses: gustatory richness and
health quality assured by their microbiota
16 May 2014, INRA-France: Research scientists
from INRA, Universit¨¦ de Caen and Universit¨¦
de Franche-Comt¨¦ have reviewed the benefits of
traditional, raw-milk cheeses and have shown
that traditional cheeses have unrivalled advan-
tages in terms of both their diversity and their
gustatory richness, but also regarding their pro-
tection against pathogenic agents.
These benefits are linked to the specific micro-
biota found in these cheeses; they result from the
use of raw milk, combined with the specific tech-
niques used to manufacture traditional cheeses.
A rich microbiota for intense gustatory pleasure
Traditional cheeses contain a rich and highly
specific microbiota because of the diversity of the
traditional methods used in their manufacture.
From the production of milk to the ripening of
cheeses in different environments, a wide range
of micro-organisms have an opportunity to devel-
op. Indeed, raw milk already contains nearly 300
species of bacteria and 70 species of yeasts, which
are subsequently found to differing degrees in
the cheeses.
The microbiota of cheeses is the source of their
different aromas and flavours. Micro-organisms
native to raw milk, whose metabolic potentials
differ from those of commercial strains, may en-
able the more intense and complex development
of aromatic compounds.
Limited health risks
Producers of raw milk cheeses need to manage
their associated health risks. The research team
showed that the microbial combinations present
in traditional cheeses were able to to protect them,
both in the paste and on the surface, from danger-
ous pathogens, notably Listeria monocytogenes.
The surfaces of the wooden equipment used to
manufacture and ripen certain raw milk cheeses
also appeared to be protected by a complex micro-
bial biofilm limiting contamination by redoubtable
pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocyto-
genes, Escherichia coli O157/H7 and Staphylococ-
cus aureus.
Between traditional and industrial cheeses
Traditional raw milk cheeses have undeniable
advantages, but the effects of their consumption
on human health are still unknown. Neverthe-
less, studies performed on raw milk have demon-
strated that its consumption can protect against
allergies, asthma, hay fever and, more generally,
atopic sensitisation(genetic predisposition to the
development of allergies).
Industrial manufacturers seek to diversify their
products by adding selected strains to milk from
which the native microflora have been removed.
However, the industrial use of these strains is
restricted by the regulations because of the prob-
lems inherent in proving their safety. At present
it seems difficult to be able to reconstitute the
breadth of diversity of traditional cheese micro-
biota and their environments, even though this
would make a major contribution to the diversifi-
cation sought by industrial cheese producers.
What Is a ¡®Traditional Cheese¡¯?
Raw milk AOP cheeses(Appellation d¡¯Origine
Prot¨¦g¨¦e or Protected Designation of Origin, PDO)
are currently the best traditional cheeses available.
They have all the characteristics generally used to
describe traditional food products: production in
limited geographical areas, use of specific know-
how and techniques handed down from genera-
tion to generation, and the use of milk that has
undergone little or no treatment after milking. Raw
milk AOP cheeses frequently come from moun-
tainous areas, and are mainly produced in small
processing units. The name ¡®traditional cheese¡¯
can also extend to cheeses produced using milk
whose native microbiota has been eliminated by
different treatments applied to the milk if they are
produced on a farm or in small units, if they are
inoculated with a variety of acidifying yeasts, and
if the microbiota that causes ripening is allowed to
be expressed (30% of AOP cheeses in France).
Food & Garden
Funny Food
Traditional Cheese Advantages
Popular name: Hyssop
Botanical name: Hyssopus officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae, Hyssopus
Features: lanceolate leaves
Fragrance: fragrant with lightly bitter,
distinct minty flavor
Parts used: flower & leaves
Native Habitat: West Asia, Europe
Effects: Cleanser/purifier, stomach invigor-
ator, cough reliever, expectorant, & more
Hyssop, from the Hebrew word ¡®Ezoph¡¯, refers to a
therapeutic herb, appearing many times in the Old
Testament of the Holy Bible.
In early 3 BC, the Greeks referred to the herb as
¡°Azob¡± which later evolved into the English word
The scientific name of hyssop is Officinalis, from
the Latin word officina meaning ¡°shop¡± or ¡°medi-
cine shop¡± where hyssop was available. The herb
acquired the name ¡°H.Vulgia¡± in 1774 in the Italian
annals of herbs where the first sketches of hyssop
The herb¡¯s shape resembles a cross between rose-
mary and tarragon, and has a refreshing character
of mint. Hyssop leaves are hairy and absorbent.
Hyssop has been cultivated since time immemorial,
particularly for medicinal use, and spread from
the Mediterranean to almost all parts of Asia: Altai
Mountains, China, Siberia, Persia, Kashmir, Iran,
Hyssop: The Sacred Herb