Production of microbial cultures in the dairy industry
It would be impossible to make cheese without a starter culture. As the culture grows in the milk, it converts the sugar lactose into lactic acid, which ensures the correct level of acidity and gives the cheese its moisture. As the cheese ripens, the culture gives it a balanced aroma, taste, texture. It is also responsible for the ‘holes’ in cheeses such as Emmenthal. Choosing the right mixture of culture is essential for a high-quality cheese.
In yoghurt and other fermented milk products, the culture is responsible for the taste and texture of the final product. Depending on the acidity, the product will have either a mild or strong taste, and the viscosity depends on the quantity of polysaccharides – chains of sugar molecules – that are produced.
In recent years, probiotic cultures have become popular in dairy products because of their health benefits. These cultures are all very carefully selected strains, and there is good evidence that they help improve digestion, safeguard the immune system, and keep the body’s intestinal flora in balance.