To assess the potential for histamine production in low-salt Cheddar cheese, pasteurized milk was inoculated with Lactobacillus buchneri St2A at levels of 102, 103, and 104 microorganisms per ml of milk. One additional vat was uninoculated and served as a control. Milk was then manufactured into low-salt (0.40%) Cheddar cheese. After 180 d of aging at 7°C, levels of L. buchneri St2A had increased approximately 100-fold in the inoculated cheese. Proteolysis, expressed as μmoles free glycine per g cheese, increased from 40 to 150 (trichloroacetic acid soluble) and from 25 to 130 (phosphotungstic acid soluble) during the ripening period. Histamine levels, however, remained low in the inoculated cheeses (<5 mg/100 g), suggesting that the potential for histamine formation may be minimal in low-salt Cheddar cheese. It was concluded that the relatively low levels of proteolysis and low temperature of storage were primarily responsible for inhibiting histamine production.

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Author notes

Published as Paper No. 9599, Journal Series Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station, Lincoln, NE 68583-0919.