1. Identify combinations of minimal salt-in-moisture, acid levels, and natural antimicrobials/protective cultures to inhibit growth of bacterial pathogens and non-starter lactic acid bacteria in model reduced salt Cheddar cheese extract (CCE) </P>
2. Identify combinations of salt-in-moisture and natural antimicrobials/protective cultures which yield acceptable quality and functionality of reduced salt cheese </P>
3. Identify combinations of salt-in-moisture, acid levels, and natural antimicrobials to inhibit bacterial pathogen growth in reduced salt Cheddar and mozzarella
There is currently significant interest in producing low-sodium cheeses for consumers seeking to reduce dietary sodium intake. However, because salt is a natural preservative and makes a significant contribution to acceptable sensory and functional attributes of cheese, producing low-sodium cheese requires modified make procedures or adjunct ingredients to ensure its quality and safety. </P>This study will determine if commercial fermentation byproducts and adjunct cultures protect reduced-sodium cheese against growth of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Researchers will use a model Cheddar cheese extract system to test six commercial products for their ability to prevent growth of lactic acid bacteria and a single pathogen. Cheddar and Mozzarella will be produced with four salt-antimicrobial combinations and evaluated for acceptable sensory properties during shelf-life.