Glutamate dehydrogenase activity in lactobacilli and the use of glutamate dehydrogenase-producing adjunct Lactobacillus spp. cultures in the manufacture of cheddar cheese.J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Nov; 101(5):1062-75.JA
The study was undertaken to investigate the occurrence of glutamate dehydrogenase activity in different species of lactobacilli, and to determine, in a series of cheese-making trials, the effects of glutamate dehydrogenase-producing adjunct cultures on sensory attribute development during the maturation of cheddar cheese.
METHODS AND RESULTS
The presence of dehydrogenase activity with glutamate as substrate was monitored in cell lysates of >100 strains from 30 different species of lactobacilli using a qualitative colorimetric plate screening assay. Activity was detectable in 25 of the 29 representative species obtained from culture collections and in 12 of the 13 non-starter species isolated from cheese. There were pronounced interspecies and strain differences in the occurrence, level and pyridine nucleotide specificity of the glutamate dehydrogenase activity detected. Among the non-starter lactobacilli the highest frequency of enzyme occurrence and activity was detected in the Lactobacillus plantarum isolates. The establishment of glutamate dehydrogenase-producing adjunct strains in the predominant population of lactobacilli in the cheese curd affected the formation of a number of volatile compounds in ripening cheddar cheese, while the presence of Lact. plantarum strains, in particular, was associated with an intensification and acceleration of aroma and flavour development during the maturation period.
Glutamate dehydrogenase formation by lactobacilli is a strain-dependent metabolic attribute, and adjunct cultures expressing the activity that are able to proliferate during cheese ripening have a positive impact on the rate of development and the intensity of cheddar cheese aroma and flavour development.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY
It has been demonstrated that some strains of glutamate dehydrogenase-producing lactobacilli have potential use as adjunct cultures to accelerate and intensify aroma and flavour formation during the manufacture of cheddar and, by analogy, other similar varieties of cheese. The importance of phenotypic discriminative monitoring of the dominant lactobacilli present during ripening to confirm adjunct establishment and population complexity was highlighted as was the requirement to establish the metabolic attributes of the non-starter population in uninoculated control cheeses in comparative trials.