Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production and Dairy Products (ALP), CH-3003 Bern

Composition of Bernese Alpine Cheese (“Berner Alpkäse”) and Bernese Planing Cheese (“Berner Hobelkäse”)

Samples of selected premium quality Bernese Alpkäse (BA) and Bernese Hobelkäse (BH) were analysed for dry matter, fat, protein, salt, lactic acid, volatile carboxylic acids, and non-protein nitrogen. In addition, the calcium content of BA was determined and in BH the concentrations of free amino acids and of biogenic amines were measured. The moisture in non-fat substances (MNFS) was 426 g/kg for BA and 370 g/kg for BH. The BH had been ripened for about 25 months and was thus twice as old as BA. The MNFS of both BA and BH was clearly lower than for Sbrinz cheeses of similar ages. The total content of volatile carboxylic acids was less than 20 mmol/kg. Free butyric acid, which could be attributed mainly to lipolysis in both types of cheese, was detected at mean concentrations of 2.2 mmol/kg in BA and 3.6 mol/kg in BH. Thus, lipolysis contributes to the typical flavour of BA and BH. BH also contained free amino acids at concentrations as high as 40 – 52 g/kg. Glutamic acid was dominant and made up 18% of the total quantity of free amino acids. In addition, up to 2.5 g/kg of g-amino butyric acid (GABA) was measured in BH. Although GABA is a produced by the decarboxylation of glutamic acid none of the cheeses in the test displayed any visible signs of gas formation. Biogenic amines were present at low concentrations of less than 100 mg/kg. The histamine content of BH did not exceed 20 mg/kg. The collected data is considered to be valuable for the interpretation of the analytical findings in consultation practice.

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