Quantitative measurement of tetrahydromenaquinone-9 in cheese fermented by propionibacteria

J Dairy Sci. 2007 Sep;90(9):4078-83. doi: 10.3168/jds.2006-892.


Propionibacteria produce tetrahydromenaquinone-9 [MK-9 (4H)] as a major menaquinone (vitamin K2). This study aimed to determine the MK-9 (4H) concentration in commercial propionibacteria-fermented cheese. The MK-9 (4H) concentration was quantified using an HPLC instrument with a fluorescence detector after postcolumn reduction. Among the various cheese samples, the MK-9 (4H) concentration was highest in Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese, followed by Swiss Emmental cheese. In contrast, the MK-9 (4H) concentrations in Appenzeller or Gruyère cheeses were extremely low or undetected. Likewise, the concentrations in Comte and Raclette cheeses were lower than those in Jarlsberg and Emmental cheeses. In the present study, the MK- 9 (4H) concentration in cheese showed a correlation with the viable propionibacterial cell count and propionate concentration. This implies that the increase in propionibacteria contributed to the generation of MK-9 (4H) in cheese. We presumed, based on these results, that Swiss Emmental and Norwegian Jarlsberg cheeses contain a meaningful amount of vitamin K because of their high MK-9 (4H) concentrations (200 to 650 ng/g).

MeSH terms

  • Cheese / analysis*
  • Cheese / microbiology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fermentation*
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Propionibacterium / metabolism*
  • Vitamin K 2 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin K 2 / analysis


  • Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin K 2
  • tetrahydromenaquinone