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Journal of Dairy Science



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Low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheeses were manufactured from 2% fat milk and aged for 21 d. Treatments included cheeses made with one of three different strains of Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus in combination with a single strain of Streptococcus thermophilus. A fourth, control treatment consisted of cheeses made with only S. thermophilus. Although total proteolytic ability of these strains, as indicated by the o-phthaldialdehyde analysis, was similar in each of the three strains of L. bulgaricus, these strains exhibited different proteolytic specificities toward the peptide, αs1-CN (f 1-23). On the basis of their αs1-CN (f 1-23) cleavage patterns and a previously described classification, these strains were assigned to the groups I, III, and V. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of lactobacilli proteolytic systems, based on specificity toward αs1-CN (f 1-23), on functionality of part-skim Mozzarella cheese. Moisture, fat, protein, salt-in-moisture, and moisture in nonfat substances content of cheeses made with groups I, III, and V strain were similar. Control cheese had a lower moisture content than did other treatments. Significant differences were observed in functional properties between cheeses manufactured using groups III and V strains. Cheeses made with groups I and III strains were similar in their meltability, hardness, cohesiveness, melt strength, and stretch quality. Meltability and cohesiveness increased with age, while melt strength and stretch quality decreased with age for all cheeses. Additionally, HPLC showed that total peak areas of water-soluble peptides derived from cleavage of αs1-CN (f 1-23) by different strains of lactobacilli could be highly correlated to meltability and stretch characteristics of cheeses made with those strains.

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