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Chitosan and Cheese?

The cheese ripening process is largely responsible for the texture and taste of the cheese. In the following article you will learn how chitosan can help to support this process.




Preparation of pH-Responsive Chitosan Microspheres Containing Aminopeptidase and Their Potential Application in Accelerating Cheese Ripening

Liu, Tianshu; Gen, Lanlan; Li, Yuan; Wang, Pengjie; Luo, Jie, Preparation of Ph-Responsive Chitosan Microspheres Containing Aminopeptidase and Their Potential Application in Accelerating Cheese Ripening.

Cheese ripening is important to obtain the characteristic texture and taste of a cheese. Depending on the type of cheese, e.g. Cheddar or Gouda, it can take between 6-12 months and is associated with costs and complex handling. Therefore, ways are being investigated to shorten the process. In addition to increasing the temperature or pressure, the addition of exogenous enzymes directly into the milk can be a possibility. However, most of the enzymes (80-90%) are lost when the whey is drained. One solution could be to encapsulate enzymes in a suitable matrix in order to increase the retention time and minimize the ripening time. The matrix must be able to prevent the premature release of the enzymes, for example in the milk. In addition to ripening, the cheese production process consists of processing (pasteurization, coagulation, draining of whey, cheesemaking and molding). During production, the pH value drops from 6.8 to 5.0-5.5. This can be exploited by encapsulating the enzymes in pH-sensitive microspheres so that they are only released at the end of the ripening process.

One suitable enzyme is aminopeptidase. It promotes the ripening process of the cheese and also reduces the bitterness of the cheese by breaking down bitter substances. Chitosan can be used as a suitable carrier. In addition to its non-toxic properties, it is readily biodegradable and is also classified as safe by the FDA. Due to its positive charges, it is able to bind negatively charged enzymes and release them again at a suitable pH value.

In the study presented here, pH-sensitive microspheres are to be produced using aminopeptidase and chitosan and investigated for their properties in cheese production. A chitosan with a degree of deacetylation greater than 95 % and a viscosity between 100 and 200 mPas was used. Comparable products at HMC are chitosan 95/100 and 95/200.


  • Successful loading of the chitosan microspheres with the aminopeptidase, with a maximum loading at pH 6.5
  • Significant reduction in the loss of enzyme in the whey from 96.17 % (free enzyme) to 17.77 % (bound enzyme)
  • Enzyme release took place exclusively at pH 5.5 of the simulated ripening process
  • Effects of the addition of aminopeptidase microspheres on the composition and texture of the cheese were low, but the cheese had the highest degree of proteolysis and the highest content of important flavoring substances, as well as the highest taste and aroma ratings

Conclusion: Chitosan microspheres can contribute to an acceleration of the cheese ripening process and improvement of taste and smell by a pH-dependent release of aminopeptidase.

Link to article:

chitosan, Aminopeptidase, enzymes, cheese, chese ripening, chitosan microspheres

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