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Posts Tagged "cheese"

Food Matters

Genetically Modified Cheese… Is Nothing Safe? At the Boundaries of the GMO Controversy

The rind of Baley Hazen Blue cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in VT

A couple of years ago, my fiancée and I wanted to try to make some home-made mozzarella cheese, but ran into a problem. In order to turn milk into cheese, you have to add a substance called “rennet,” which causes the milk to coagulate, allowing you to separate the curd (mostly fats and hydrophobic proteins) [...]

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Food Matters

Investigating the Cheese Microbiome

The rind of Baley Hazen Blue cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in VT

Last week was a monumental one for me – I said goodbye to my old lab, where I’ve worked for the past 5 years. It was harder than I thought it would be to leave. Grad school was rough at times, but it was an overwhelmingly positive and rewarding experience, due in no small part [...]

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Oscillator

If you build it, they will come: designing microbial ecosystems in cheese

Colony of Staphylococcus xylosus bacteria isolated from cheese. Image by Ben Wolfe.

Microbes live in dense and diverse communities. There are billions of bacteria from thousands of species living together in your gut or in the soil. Sequencing the total DNA of these communities can give us a catalog of the diversity that’s there, but it can’t tell us much about the relationship between those organisms, how [...]

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Oscillator

Human Cheese and the Microbial Superhighway

Cheese is a fascinating model for studying the intersection of human and microbial cultures. My project with Sissel Tolaas explores these connections through the process of making cheese using microbes sampled from the human body. Here is a short film for the project featuring interviews with microbiologist Benjamin Wolfe, cheesemaker Seana Doughty, anthropologist Heather Paxson, [...]

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Oscillator

Cheese Cultures

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Cheese is carefully rotted milk, an ancient domestication of microbial activities for human consumption. Humans work in concert with communities of bacteria and fungi to produce the hundreds of different kinds of cheeses, flavored by the metabolic excretions of microbes eating the sugars, proteins, and fats in the milk. The ecologies of cheese provide a [...]

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Talking back

Brie and Milbenkäse Are the New “Lab Rats” for Microbiologists

Trillions of microbes, a galaxy’s worth of prokaryotes, inhabit the human GI tract. Figuring out what the microbiome does, as this Brobdingnagian collection of critters is known, remains a grand challenge of biology. As always, scientists try to make a difficult problem tractable by conducting studies in a simpler version of the organism or environment they [...]

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