Cheese is one of the most popular food products and finds extensive applications in making several delicacies. However, we cannot deny that it is responsible for several allergic reactions such as rashes. Stephan Schmitz-Esser, associate professor of animal science said that bacteria prevalent in the cheese’s rind, perhaps, is responsible for these allergic reactions. There are numerous cheese varieties such as Gruyere and Comte that require months for ripening. This process results in the development of bacteria on cheese’s rind. Schmitz-Esser said that these microbes protect the cheese from harmful pathogens. However, researchers know very little about these microbes.
Histamine Reduction to Alleviate Allergic Reactions
Schmitz-Esser conducted a research that aimed at alleviating reactions of the microbes involved in ripening of cheese. He along with his collaborators sampled cheese rinds from Austria and identified a bacterial genus called Brevibacterium. Further, they sequenced the genomes of three different species. This aided them in identifying the cause for degradation of histamine. Histamine is a byproduct of fermentation and causes allergic reactions through auto-immune responses. Not all bacteria strains contained genetic pathway that reduces histamine content. However, the study allowed researchers to identify strains that can facilitate histamine reduction.
Further, Schmitz-Esser said that this research may enable people intolerant to histamine to consume ripened cheese. Moreover, it will benefit cheese producers standardizing the cheese ripening process. Additionally, it ensures an excellent return on investment reducing the costs involved in the exhaustive ripening process. This discovery has served as a major breakthrough in the process of cheese production, thereby increasing its consumption.