Swiss Federal Dairy Research Station, Bern-Liebefeld

Development of a surface smear starter culture

The FAM has developed two new surface mixed-cultures for smear ripened cheeses. These cultures have proven to be successful in practice and can now be ordered from the FAM. Research work carried out with the objective of combating sticky smear yielded numerous data on its formation. These results were used by the FAM to develop new surface cultures. Our objective was to develop a culture composed of different groups of microorganisms, which would positively, influence smear development without inhibiting the growth of cellar-specific smear flora. Preliminary trials at Liebefeld and at Fromex in Moudon led to the production of two promising new cultures: OMK 702 and OMK 703. The surface culture 703 in addition contains Geotrichum canidum, which contributes to the drying of the smear. Both cultures have been tested in 20 cheese factories (9 producing Gruyere and 11 producing half-hard cheeses). In the Gruyere plants the growth of Oïdium lactis was inhibited which is a desirable factor. A more rapid development of the smear was also observed. This was also perceived with the half-hard cheeses where there was a more rapid drying of the cheese surface. Producers of Gruyere preferred OMK 702 whereas producers of half-hard cheeses preferred OMK 703.

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