Journal of Dairy Science
Bacterial metabolism of Tyr and Phe has been associated with the formation of aromatic compounds that impart barny-utensil and floral off-flavors in cheese. In an effort to identify possible mechanisms for the origin of these compounds in Cheddar cheese, we investigated Tyr and Phe catabolism by Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus helveticus cheese flavor adjuncts under simulated Cheddar cheese-ripening (pH 5.2, 4% NaCl, 15°C, no sugar) conditions. Enzyme assays of cell-free extracts indicated that L. casei strains catabolize Tyr and Phe by successive, constitutively expressed transamination and dehydrogenation reactions. Similar results were obtained with L. helveticus strains, except that the dehydrogenase enzymes were induced during incubation under cheese-ripening conditions. Micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography of supernatants from L. casei and L. helveticus strains incubated under simulated cheese-ripening conditions confirmed that Tyr and Phe transamination and dehydrogenation pathways were active in both species and also showed these reactions were reversible. Major products of Tyr catabolism were p-hydroxy phenyl lactic acid and p-hydroxy phenyl acetic acid, while Phe degradation gave rise to phenyl lactic acid, phenyl acetic acid, and benzoic acid. However, some of these products were likely formed by nonenzymatic processes, since spontaneous chemical degradation of the Tyr intermediate p-hydroxy phenyl pyruvic acid produced p-hydroxy phenyl acetic acid, p-hydroxy phenyl propionic acid, and p-hydroxy benzaldehyde, while chemical degradation of the Phe intermediate phenyl pyruvic acid gave rise to phenyl acetic acid, benzoic acid, phenethanol, phenyl propionic acid, and benzaldehyde.
Gummalla, S. and J. R. Broadbent. 2001. Tyrosine and phenylalanine catabolism by Lactobacillus cheese flavor adjuncts. J. Dairy Sci. 84:1011-1019.