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Effects of Grazing Season on Physico-Chemical Characteristics and Fatty Acids of Nutritional Interest of Caciocavallo Palermitano Cheese

  • Autori: Di Grigoli A.; Ponte M.; Bonanno A.; Maniaci G.; Alabiso M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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The aim of this work was to evaluate, in the different production seasons of the year, the physico-chemical quality of an artisanal cheese traditionally obtained from autochthonous grazing cows, with particular reference to fatty acids (FA) of nutritional interest that play an important role in the risk or prevention of some human pathologies. For this purpose, cheeses were sampled in 11 farms, repeating the samplings in 3 different periods of the year (summer, autumn–winter, and spring) when the productive conditions of the pastures varied. The cheeses produced in the spring period, when cows ingest a greater amount of grazed forage, resulted in a more adequate composition of the main FA, which are recognized as having a health effect, such as α-linolenic, trans-vaccenic, rumenic, docosapentaenoic (DPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. Branched-chain FA were found in greater quantities in spring cheeses, as well as in summer ones. The FA composition of cheeses produced in the different seasons was reflected in some nutritional indexes that also resulted as more suitable in cheeses obtained in the spring period. The positive effects induced on the FA profile of cheeses are presumably linked to the diet of autochthonous cows, which is mainly based on forage from natural pastures. Therefore, the results obtained confirm the benefits of grazing, which is able to guarantee the production of healthier cheeses for consumers.