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Effect of farming system and cheesemaking technology on the physicochemical characteristics, fatty acid profile, and sensory properties of Caciocavallo Palermitano cheese

  • Autori: Bonanno, A.; Tornambè, G.; Bellina, V.; DE PASQUALE, C.; Mazza, F.; Maniaci, G.; DI GRIGOLI, A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2013
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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Caciocavallo Palermitano is a typical stretched-curd cheese that has been produced over the centuries in Sicily according to traditional cheesemaking technology and using raw milk from autochthonous cow breeds reared at pasture. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of the farming system and processing technology on the characteristics of Caciocavallo Palermitano cheese, with particular regard to the fatty acid profile. The farming system was either extensive, using autochthonous cows fed a pasture-based diet, or intensive, with specialized dairy cow breeds fed mainly hay and concentrate. The cheese-processing technology was either artisanal, using traditional wooden tools and endemic lactic bacteria, or advanced, using modern steel equipment and selected lactic bacteria. Twelve Caciocavallo Palermitano cheeses, 3 from each of the 4 experimental theses (2 farming systems × 2 cheesemaking technologies), were obtained and aged for 1, 30, 60, and 120 d. Milk of origin and cheeses were analyzed for the main chemical and rheological parameters. Fatty acids were methylated in lyophilized cheese and analyzed by gas chromatography. Sensory analysis was carried out by trained panelists. The PROC GLM of SAS 9.1.2 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NY) was used for the statistical analysis. The physical, chemical, and sensory characteristics of Caciocavallo Palermitano cheese were influenced more by the farming system than by the cheesemaking technology. Compared with cheese produced through intensive farming, cheese from extensive farming was richer in polyunsaturated, n-3, and odd- and branched-chain fatty acids, as well as in conjugated linoleic acid (cis-9,trans-11 C18:2), with accompanying improved human health benefits. The cheesemaking technology produced variation in the evolution of proteolysis during aging, due presumably to the different active microflora, which influenced the sensory profile of the resulting cheese. Indeed, cheese produced by artisanal manufacturing was described as less “bitter” and more “piquant” than cheese produced through the advanced process.