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Updated on 28/09/2020
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Penicillium roqueforti is added to the coagulated milk in making blue cheese. The Penicillium grows and produces blue spore-producing mycelia, giving blue cheese its blue spots and veins. Brevibacterium linens, which is the same bacteria behind foot and human body odour, is a bacteria common in blue cheese and it gives blue cheese its unique smell. The soft texture and special flavours of blue cheese are the results of the secretion of proteases and lipases.
Why can Brevibacterium linens be able to grow in the cheese while the growth of other bad bacteria is inhabited by the addition of salt which acts as a preservative?
The bluish-green veins that we can observe on the blue cheese, in fact, are the spore-producing mycelia of P. roqueforti, an Ascomycete. P. roqueforti is reproducing asexually by producing conidia, which are borne on conidiophores. The spores are producing mycelia on the surface of blue cheese that we can observe by naked eyes.
Many may wonder how people invented blue cheese as it is quite "weird" to add a fungi in the recipe of cheese. The history of blue cheese goes back to the 7th century, to a cave outside the village of Roquefort (probably this is where the species name of this fungi comes from) in France. Legend has it that a distracted shepherd forgot his lunch of bread and cheese in the cave. When he returned a few months later, the cheese had become infested with penicillium roqueforti.
Today, all blue cheeses are produced by adding P. roqueforti to the cheese milk. For the cheese to turn blue, oxygen must reach the inside of the cheese by piercing the cheese with thin needles or skewers. Then, it matures inside the air tunnels, developing flavour as it ages which takes 3 to 6 months.
petal , sepal , pileus , suspensor , stipe , Labellum , columella , sporangium , pistil , zygosporangium
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