Influence of exopolysaccharide-producing cultures on the volatile profile and sensory quality of low-fat Tulum cheese during ripening



The objective of this investigation was to compare the composition and changes in the concentration of volatiles in low-fat and full-fat Tulum cheeses during ripening. Tulum cheese was manufactured from low- or full-fat milk using exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing or non-EPS-producing starter cultures. A total of 82 volatile compounds were identified belonging to the following chemical groups: acids (seven), esters (21), ketones (14), aldehydes (six), alcohols (14) and miscellaneous compounds (20). The relative amounts of acids, alcohols and aldehydes increased in the cheeses made with EPS-producing cultures during 90 days of ripening. Differences were found in the volatile profile of full-fat Tulum cheese compared with the low-fat variant, especially after 90 days of ripening. Exopolysaccharide-producing cultures changed the volatile profile, and the EPS-producing cultures including Streptococcus thermophilus + Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus + Lactobacillus helveticus (LF-EPS2) produced cheese with higher levels of methyl ketones and aldehydes than the non-EPS cultures. In the sensory analysis, full-fat Tulum cheeses and the cheese produced with the EPS-producing culture containing Lb. helveticus (LF-EPS2) were preferred by the expert panel. It was concluded that the use of EPS-producing starter cultures in the manufacture of low-fat Tulum cheese had the potential to improve the flavour.