Factors affecting growth and pigmentation of Penicillium caseifulvum

Karin Isabel Suhr, I. Haasum, L.D. Steenstrup, Thomas Ostenfeld Larsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Color formation, metabolite production and growth of Penicillium caseifulvum were studied in order to elucidate factors contributing to. yellow discoloration of Blue Cheese caused by the mold. A screening experiment was set up to study the effect of pH, concentration of salt (NaCl), P, K, N, S, Mg and the trace metals Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn on yellow color formation, metabolite production and mold growth. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that the most important factor affecting yellow color formation was pH. The most pronounced formation of yellow color, supported by highest amount of colored metabolites, appeared at low pH (pH 4). Mold growth was not correlated to the yellow color formation. Salt concentration was the most important factor affecting mold growth and length of lag phase. Production of secondary metabolites was strongly influenced by both pH and salt concentration. The screening results were used to divide the metabolites into the following three groups: 1) correlated to growth, 2) correlated to color formation, and 3) formed at high pH. Subsequently, a full factorial experiment with factors P, Mg and Cu, showed that low P concentrations (2000 mg/kg) induced yellow color formation. Among the factors contributing to yellow color formation, pH and salt concentration are easy to control for the cheesemaker, while the third factor, P-concentration, is not. Naturally occurring variations in the P-concentration in milk delivered to Blue Cheese plants, could be responsible for the yellow discoloration phenomenon observed in the dairy industry.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Dairy Science
    Issue number11
    Pages (from-to)2786-2794
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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