Faccia, Michele, et al. “Cheese ripening in nonconventional conditions: A multiparameter study applied to Protected Geographical Indication Canestrato di Moliterno cheese.” Journal of Dairy Science 105.1 (2022): 140-153. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2021-20845
A multiparameter study was performed to evaluate the effect of fondaco, a traditional ripening cellar without any artificial temperature and relative humidity control, on the chemical, microbiological, and sensory characteristics of Protected Geographical Indication Canestrato di Moliterno cheese. Ripening in such a nonconventional environment was associated with lower counts of lactococci, lactobacilli, and total viable bacteria, and higher presence of enterococci, in comparison with ripening in a controlled maturation room. Moreover, fondaco cheese underwent accelerated maturation, as demonstrated by faster casein degradation, greater accumulation of free AA, and higher formation of volatile organic compounds. Secondary proteolysis, as assessed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry of free AA and low molecular weight peptides, did not show any qualitative difference among cheeses, but fondaco samples evidenced an advanced level of peptidolysis. On the other hand, significant qualitative differences were observed in the free fatty acid profiles and in the sensory characteristics. Principal component analysis showed a clear separation of the fondaco and control cheeses, indicating that ripening in the natural room conferred unique sensory features to the product.