Whey Cheeses Containing Probiotic and Bioprotective Cultures Produced with Ultrafiltrated Cow's Whey

Foods. 2024 Apr 16;13(8):1214. doi: 10.3390/foods13081214.


Bovine whey cheese (WC) is a product from southern European countries that presents some challenges: its production process involves high energy inputs; the yield is low; and WC has a short shelf life. The application of ultrafiltration (UF) to bovine whey before manufacture of WC and the employment of protective cultures can reduce these disadvantages. The objective of this research was the production of whey cheeses using ultrafiltrated bovine cheese whey with added probiotics or probiotics plus protective cultures. Three types of WC were produced: control CW without any addition (C); CW with the addition of the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus (LA5); and CW with the addition of Lactobacillus acidophilus plus a protective culture containing Lacticaseibacillus paracasei and Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus (LA5FQ4). The WCs were stored under refrigerated conditions for 28 days. The products with added cultures presented lower pH values and higher titratable acidities when compared to the control. Sample LA5 presented the lowest pH and the highest titratable acidity, while LA5FQ4 presented intermediate values. Slight differences were observed between products regarding color parameters, chiefly resulting from storage time. The samples with added cultures were firmer when compared to the control, with LA5 cheeses showing the highest values at the end of the storage. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) counts were on the order of log 8-9 CFU/g for the products with added cultures. Lower levels of yeasts and molds were detected on the sample with the protective culture (LA5FQ4), so that by the end of storage they presented counts one log cycle lower than C and LA5. Hence, the beneficial impact of the protective culture on the shelf life of the product is evident. Regarding sensory evaluation, LA5FQ4 cheeses obtained the highest scores for all parameters evaluated. It can be concluded that the use of UF associated with the addition of protective cultures can be very useful to reduce the energy consumption of the manufacturing process, to prolong the shelf life of WC and to improve its sensory properties.

Keywords: probiotics; protective cultures; ultrafiltration; whey cheese.