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Liquid Compositions Used in the Preparation of Cheese Comprising an Aspartic Protease and Acetate or Propionate

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000244329D
Publication Date: 2015-Dec-02

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Liquid Compositions Used in the Preparation of Cheese Comprising an Aspartic Protease and Acetate or Propionate

-          Chapter 1

LIQUID COMPOSITION COMPRISING AN ASPARTIC PROTEASE

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a liquid composition comprising an aspartic protease and an organic acid, and associated methods of use and production.

Background of the Invention

It is well known that the preparation of cheese involves the use of an aspartic protease. The aspartic protease causes the milk to coagulate, resulting in a solid curd which is further processed into cheese.

Aspartic proteases can be recovered from animals, e.g. from the stomach of calf, camel, and seal. Liquid aspartic protease compositions recovered from animals are herein referred to as animal rennet. Aspartic proteases can also be produced by micro-organisms, especially by Rhizomucor, or by host strains such as Aspergillus or Kluyveromyces (these will be referred to as microbial rennet).  A well-known and commonly used microbial rennet is obtained from Rhizomucor miehei.

In the cheese making industry, liquid compositions comprising the aspartic protease are often used. Such liquid compositions typically contain certain additives to obtain a desired stability. One can distinguish between enzymatic stability and microbial stability. Enzymatic stability is a measure of the rate at which the activity of the enzyme decreases. Microbial stability is a measure of the rate at which microorganisms can proliferate and grow in the composition.

The microbial properties of a liquid composition can be expressed by the standard plate count, number of yeasts and number of moulds using well-defined standard procedures. For instance, the standard plate count can be ≤ 100 in 1 ml, the yeast count can be < 10 in 1 ml and the mould count can be < 10 in 1 ml. As compositions are often stored prior to use, it is desirable that the plate count, number of yeasts and number of moulds remain below certain boundary values, for instance the values mentioned above, for a prolonged period, for instance for a period of at least 3 months. It is well known to use sorbate or benzoate as a preservative to obtain a desired microbial stability. Parabens (alkyl esters of para-hydroxybenzoate) can also be used.

However, there is a desire for products containing no or smaller amounts of sorbates, benzoates and parabens. WO2007118838 aims to provide a composition which has a good microbial stability in the absence of sorbates, benzoates and parabens.  In one embodiment, WO2007118838 discloses a liquid composition comprising (i) an aspartic protease; and (ii) an inorganic salt and/or a polyalcohol, in which composition the sum concentration of sorbate, benzoate and alkyl esters of parahydroxybenzoate is less than 0.010 mol/l; the standard plate count < 100 in 1 ml; yeast count < 10 in 1 ml; and mould count < 10 in 1 ml.  It should be noted, however, that the use of polyalcohols is not preferred because o...