Lactosan conducts applications work on cheese powder compounds

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cheese

Lactosan is leveraging the findings of research into the properties of cheese powder compounds, with new combinations and applications work on their use as bitter maskers, salt reducers and taste enhancers.

The R&D team at Lactosan teamed up with scientists at the University of Copenhagen in 2008 on a project to identify and characterise the compounds in different mature cheese powders. Although cheese powders have a history of use by the food industry as taste enhancers in a broad range of applications, the company says no investigations had been carried out previously into the compounds at play.

The researchers studied the three different types of cheese powders, produced using the typical method of melting cheese, water and salt, then pasturising and spray drying. The cheese powder types were: Blue cheese powders; powders from surface-ripened cheeses; and powders from hard cheeses.

Post doctoral researcher Camilla Varming explained that the team performed sensory analyses of the powders, then compared the sensory characteristics with flavour compounds that had been analysed chemically.

Gas chromatography-olfactometry was used to determine which aroma compounds are the most important for odour.

New combinations

Inger Hansen, R&S manager at Lactosan, said the new knowledge allows the company to make new combinations of the naturally-occurring flavour compounds for flavour and taste enhancement.

She told that some new launches have already been for taste enhancement in biscuits. The research allows the company to be more specific in the solutions it offers to market as it knows what is behind the effect in a food matrix.

Hansen added that the findings are now implemented in a new slate of application studies, using the powders not just for taste enhancement but also for bitter masking and salt reduction.

Varming also said: "The sensory profiling of the three cheese powders will be pursued correlated to the chemical taste components of free fatty acids and amino acids."

Cheese secrets revealed

The research findings are the subject of some scientific publications. The main lines of the results, however, are that blue cheese powder is characterised by higher content of aroma compounds, mainly esters and ketones, which are typically produced by penicillium fungi species and correspond to ‘fruity’ and ‘blue mould’ flavours.

The surface-ripened cheese powders had more sulphur compounds, indole and phenole, which are typical of microflora of the ripening process and correspond to ‘smear’ sensory properties.

The hard cheese powders had lower content of aroma compounds, and sensory properties tended to be ‘harmony’, ‘umami’, and ‘kokumi’.

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