The Amazing Microbiomes of Cheese

Turning milk into cheese has been going on for thousands of years, and it's still a tasty way to preserve milk. What makes cheese is the bacteria working in it. Cheesemakers will tell you what kind of bacteria they introduce to produce their distinctive kinds of cheese, but that's just the beginning of the story. Scientists who study samples of cheese for bacterial DNA have found that the bacteria the cheese is known for can be a very small sliver of what's actually living in there- up to 400 kinds of bacteria, plus yeasts and other funguses! Some of these were there in the beginning, with the gathering of milk on farms. Others were deliberately introduced, but many are a mystery, and could have something to do with the region where the cheese is made or the techniques used to manufacture it.

Research is also going on about the interactions between these species in making cheese. Some species are rivals for resources, and can even go to battle with each other. Or they can just try to crowd each other out. Read about the latest research on the astonishing variety of bacteria in aged cheese at Smithsonian. -via Damn Interesting ā€‹

(Image credit: Silar

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