Nonstarter lactic acid bacteria and aging temperature affect calcium lactate crystallization in cheddar cheese.J Dairy Sci. 2003 Aug; 86(8):2516-24.JD
The occurrence of unappetizing calcium lactate crystals in Cheddar cheese is a challenge and expense to manufacturers, and this research was designed to understand their origin. It was hypothesized that nonstarter lactic acid bacteria (NSLAB) affect calcium lactate crystallization (CLC) by producing D(-)-lactate. This study was designed to understand the effect of NSLAB growth and aging temperature on CLC. Cheeses were made from milk inoculated with Lactococcus lactis starter culture, with or without Lactobacillus curvatus or L. helveticus WSU19 adjunct cultures. Cheeses were aged at 4 or 13 degrees C for 28 d, then half of the cheeses from 4 and 13 degrees C were transferred to 13 and 4 degrees C, respectively, for the remainder of aging. The form of lactate in cheeses without adjunct culture or with L. helveticus WSU19 was predominantly L(+)-lactate (> 95%, wt/wt), and crystals were not observed within 70 d. While initial lactate in cheeses containingL. curvatus was only L(+)-lactate, the concentration of D(-)-lactate increased during aging. After 28 d, a racemic mixture of D/L-lactate was measured in cheeses containing L. curvatus; at the same time, CLC was observed. The earliest and most extensive CLC occurred on cheeses aged at 13 degrees C for 28 d then transferred to 4 degrees C. These results showed that production of D(-)-lactate by NSLAB, and aging temperature affect CLC in maturing Cheddar cheese.