Different authors have demonstrated the potential of adding lactobacilli as adjunct cultures to pasteurized milk used in cheese manufacture. The aim of this work was to observe the effect of the use of a defined-strain starter culture and the addition of an adjunct culture (Lactobacillus plantarum) to cheesemilk in order to determine their effect on the ripening of Manchego cheese. Manchego cheeses were manufactured using one of the following starter culture systems: a defined starter consisting of Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides ssp. dextranicum; a defined starter, as described above, and Lb. plantarum, which were isolated from a good quality Manchego cheese made from raw milk, or a commercial starter comprised of two strains of Lc. lactis. The cheeses were sampled at 15, 45, 90 and 150 d of ripening. Principal component analysis of peak heights of reversed-phase HPLC chromatograms of 70% (v/v) ethanol-insoluble and -soluble fractions distributed the samples according to the starter used in their manufacture. Quantitative differences in several peptides were evident between the three cheeses. Cheeses made with the defined-strain starters received higher scores for the flavour quality and intensity and for overall impression than the cheeses made with the commercial starter. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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