Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Jeffery R. Broadbent


Jeffery R. Broadbent


Sanjay Gummalla


Debrah Low


Shelby Caldwell


Beatriz Villalba


This study sought to investigate the role of the C55 undecaprenol lipid carrier in the production of exopolysaccharide (EPS), the effect of exopolysaccharide producing (EPS+) starter cultures on the viscosity of Mozzarella cheese whey, and the possible protective characteristics of capsular EPS against freezing and freeze drying. Efforts to investigate the role of the lipid carrier in EPS production employed pAMbacA, a plasmid that encodes an enterococcallipid kinase that confers bacitracin resistance by increasing intracellular levels of undecaprenol phosphate lipid carrier. Unfortunately, this avenue of study was thwarted by the inability to demonstrate bacA expression in a model dairy lactic acid bacterium, Lactococcus lactis.

To study the effect of EPS+ cultures on cheese whey, Mozzarella cheese was made with starters consisting of Lactobacillus helveticus (LH100) paired with one of four Streptococcus thermophilus strains. These strains included a capsular EPS producer (Cps+) MR-1C; a non-exopolysaccharide producing negative mutant (EPS-) of MR-1C, DM10; a ropy EPS producer, MTC360; and a non-EPS producing industrial strain, TA061. Results showed that Mozzarella cheese made with a Cps+ or ropy EPS+ S. thermophilus strain had significantly higher moisture levels than cheese made with non-exopolysaccharide producing (EPS-) streptococci. Melt properties were also better in cheeses with higher moisture. Viscosity measurements of unconcentrated and ultrafiltered (5-fold concentrated) whey showed that ultrafiltered whey from cheeses made with S. thernzophilus MTC360 was significantly higher in viscosity than whey from cheeses made with MR-1C, TA061, or DM10. There was no significant difference in the viscosity of unconcentrated or concentrated whey from cheese made with S. thermophilus MR-1C and cheese made with the commercial starter culture TA061. The results indicated that non-ropy, encapsulated exopolysaccharideproducing S. thermophilus strains can be used to achieve higher cheese moisture levels and to improve the melt properties of Mozzarella cheese without significantly increasing cheese whey viscosity.

Finally, S. thermophilus MR-1C and DM10 were subjected to freezing and freeze drying to test for possible protective effects of the capsular exopolysaccharide. Analysis of variance of cell counts taken before and after freezing or freeze drying cycles revealed there was no significant difference between the viability of these strains.