About this Research Topic
Dairy food, above all fermented dairy products, have a positive image from nutritional viewpoint, mainly by their content of calcium and protein with high biological value. However, cheeses have two characteristics which could be considered negative to human health: the high levels of fat and sodium. A high intake of these nutrients is one of the main dietary factors associated to the risk of different chronic and non-transmissible pathologies such as obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Worldwide, the awareness between health and diet is increasing.
The reformulation of cheeses to decrease their content of fat and salt has been proposed in order to improve the nutritional profile of these products. However, the diminution of these components derives in a deterioration of the sensory characteristics of cheeses, with negative impact mainly on the texture and flavor. In this sense, salt plays an important role in the cheese properties through multiple functions as it imparts taste and aroma, regulates the water activity, the microbial growth (starter and non-starter bacteria, and adventitious microorganisms), the enzymatic activity and biochemical changes during ripening, influences the casein hydration and the susceptibility to proteolysis, amongst others. In relation to the fat matter, it has an important influence on the texture, aroma and taste of cheeses. Therefore, the cheese-making of good quality and high acceptability low-fat and/or low-salt cheeses represents a great challenge for the dairy industry.
This Research Topic will address the application of different strategies to obtain healthier cheeses, with lower fat and salt, but with good sensory properties, global quality, and consumer acceptability. In this article collection, the topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
* Diminution of fat and/or salt in different types of cheeses: changes of the cheese-making technology, and influence on global quality, microbiological counts, ripening profiles and sensory characteristics.
* Strategies to increase the salinity perception and mask bitter taste: flavor enhancers, food flavoring, bitter blocked agents, etc.
* Strategies to increase the microbiological quality of low-salt cheeses: bioprotective cultures, antimicrobial substances.
* Adjunct cultures to improve the texture and flavor of low-fat and low-salt cheeses: selection of suitable cultures, influence on the cheese properties, attenuated cultures.
* Strategies to improve the texture and flavor of low-fat and low-salt cheeses.
* Influence of these strategies on the microbiome.
* Acceptability of these products by consumers.
Keywords: low-fat cheeses, low-salt cheeses, technological strategies, sensory characteristics, nutritional profile, ripening, microbiome, volatilome
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