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Rangées de graines.. © INRA, Elena Schweitzer © Fotolia

Our results

  1. Introduction
  2. Research and Innovation 2018 - For Food and Biobased Products
  3. Dry-cured ham: a process simulator can now define routes of manufacture that yield lower-salt products
  4. Does organically-farmed meat contain fewer chemical contaminants?
  5. The way in which proteins aggregate when heated may change their sensitising potency
  6. Enhancing the viability of spray-dried probiotic bacteria by stimulating their stress tolerance
  7. Human milk digestion in the preterm infant: impact of technological treatments
  8. Research & Innovation 2017 - For Food and Biobased Products
  9. To stick or not to stick? Pulling pili sheds new light on biofilm formation
  10. When biopolymers selfassemble: a balance between energy and entropy.
  11. Mimicking the gastrointestinal digestion in a lab-on-a-chip:the microdigester
  12. How a milk droplet becomes a powder grain
  13. Research & Innovation 2016 - For Food and Bioproducts
  14. A new process for the biorefining of plants
  15. Under the UV light : the bacterial membrane
  16. Reverse engineering or how to rebuild ... bread!
  17. Green Chemistry: a step towards lipid production in yeast
  18. Individually designed neo-enzymes for antibacterial vaccines
  19. Multi-scale mechanical modelling: from the nanometric scale to the macroscopic properties of bread crumb
  20. Minimill: 500 g to assess the milling value of soft wheats
  21. Microbial production of lipids for energy or chemical purposes
  22. The discrete role of ferulic acid in the assembly of lignified cell wall
  23. Eco-design of composites made from wood co-products
  24. Analysis of volatile compounds enables the authentication of a poultry production system
  25. Nanoparticles as capping agents for biopolymers microscopy
  26. Pasteurisation, UHT, microfiltration...All the processes don't affect the nutritional quality of milk in the same way
  27. Integration of expert knowledge applied to cheese ripening
  28. Controlling cheese mass loss during ripening
  29. The shape memory of starch
  30. Research & Innovation 2015 - For Food & Biobased Products
  31. Behaviour of casein micelles during milk filtering operations
  32. Overaccumulation of lipids by the yeast S. cerevisiae for the production of biokerosine
  33. Sequential ventilation in cheese ripening rooms: 50% electrical energy savings
  34. An innovative process to extract bioactive compounds from wheat
  35. Diffusion weighted MRI: a generic tool for the microimaging of lipids in food matrices
  36. Characterization of a major gene of anthocyanin biosynthesis in grape berry
  37. New enzyme activity detectors made from semi-reflective biopolymer nanolayers
  38. Improving our knowledge about the structure of the casein micelle
  39. Heating milk seems to favour the development of allergy in infants
  40. Fun with Shape
  41. Using volatile metabolites in meat products to detect livestock contamination by environmental micropollutants
  42. SensinMouth, when taste makes sense
  43. A decision support system for the fresh fruit and vegetable chain based on a knowledge engineering approach
  44. SOLEIL casts light on the 3D structure of proteins responsible for the stabilisation of storage lipids in oilseed plants
  45. A close-up view of the multi-scale protein assembly process
  46. Controlling the drying of infant dairy products by taking water-constituent interactions into account
  47. Polysccharide nanocrystals to stabilise pickering emulsions
  48. Discovery of new degradative enzymes of plant polysaccharides in the human intestinal microbiome
  49. A durum wheat flour adapted for the production of traditional baguettes
  50. Virtual modelling to guide the construction of « tailored-made » enzymes
  51. How far can we reduce the salt content of cooked meat products?
  52. Diffusion of organic substances in polymer materials: beyond existing scaling laws
  53. Smart Foams : various ways to destroy foams on demand !
  54. Dates, rich in tannins and yet neither bitter nor astringent
  55. Sodium content reduction in food
  56. Research & Innovation 2014

Controlling cheese mass loss during ripening

Cheese weight loss in ripening rooms has a direct impact on product quality and cheese output. Its economic implications are thus considerable. Our research, based on experiments carried out on two types of cheeses, focuses mainly on the analysis and mechanistic modelling of phenomena involved in mass loss during ripening. This research has made it possible to improve the equipment used in ripening rooms and to define innovative management strategies for cheese ripening rooms in order to more effectively control the process and final cheese quality.

Updated on 06/17/2013
Published on 06/11/2013

What's happening during ripening ?

Cheese ripening is the last stage of the cheese manufacturing process before the cheese goes to market.  The development of a complex and specific microbial ecosystem on the cheese surface is the basis of the ripening process.  Because of this microflora, cheeses are subject to a wide range of biological and physico-chemical reactions that are directly responsible for their final quality.
In order to more effectively control these complex phenomena and to obtain high-quality products, ripening takes place in industrial ripening rooms (measuring several hundred cubic meters), whose temperature, relative humidity and, more and more often, aeraulics, are measured and controlled automatically.

Controlling transferts of heat and matter

During ripening, simultaneous transfers of heat (cheese respiratory activity) and matter (water evaporation) lead to a large loss of the cheese mass.  This has a direct impact on cheese quality and cheese output, two essential factors for cheesemakers.
The control of mass loss and, as a result, cheese weight when the cheeses are packaged and put on the market, represents major stakes for cheesemakers.  We therefore analysed the mechanisms involved in mass loss phenomena in order to build mathematical models that would allow us to quantify them and to propose ripening room management strategies to ensure their control.
This research, aimed at the construction and validation of a mechanistic model describing cheese mass loss during ripening, is part of a global modelling approach to cheese ripening processes based on the knowledge integration approach.

Mini-cellule d'affinage instrumentée permettant de suivre l'activité respiratoire des fromages mise au point à l'UMR Génie et Microbiologie des Procédés Alimentaire INRA-AgroParisTech. © INRA
Mini-cellule d'affinage instrumentée permettant de suivre l'activité respiratoire des fromages mise au point à l'UMR Génie et Microbiologie des Procédés Alimentaire INRA-AgroParisTech © INRA
Mini-instrumented ripening cells, designed at the Joint Research Unit for Microbiology and Food Process Engineering. They monitor the transfers of heat and matter during cheese ripening

A model to quantify the weigth loss rate

Experiments on “model” cheeses obtained using Camembert-type (soft cheese, mold surface ripened) and Saint Nectaire-type (pressed, semi-hard cheese) technologies were carried out in pilot ripening rooms under controlled temperature and relative humidity conditions.  The cheeses were constantly weighed in order to monitor their mass loss.
The mathematical model that was designed includes mechanistic data and hypotheses related to:

  • The evolution of water activity (aw) of the cheeses
  • Heat and matter transfer coefficients
  • The respiratory activity of microbial populations that develop on the cheese surface

It allows us to quantify the weight loss rate in terms of ripening time and of certain operating conditions including the temperature and relative humidity of the ripening rooms.  This last variable, whose on-line measurement in ripening rooms is often sensitive, constitutes the major uncertainty factor.
Model parameters were identified, and the model was validated by fitting calculated mass losses and experimental weighings.

Principales équations du modèle. © INRA
Principales équations du modèle © INRA

The control strategies that were proposed are intended to either ensure a final average weight of “targeted” cheeses (the case of cheeses sold by the unit whose minimum weight is regulated by law), or to implement a mass loss “profile” defined beforehand by the cheesemaker (the case of cheeses sold in bulk).

Industrial validation in process

The results obtained, for which a patent application is pending, will be subject to validation at an industrial site within the framework of a demonstration operation financed by the European Union within the Truefood project.  TRUEFOOD aims to improve quality and safety and introduce innovation into Traditional European Food production systems through research, demonstration, dissemination and training activities. 


The work with the Saint-Nectaire type were carried out within the Truefood European Projet in partnership with the Cheese research Unit in Aurillac and the Unit for Quality of Animal Products in Theix (INRA Clermont-Ferrand)

See also

  • Hélias A., Mirade P.-S., Corrieu G. (2007) Modeling of camembert-type cheese mass loss in a ripening chamber, main biological and physical phenomena. Journal of Dairy Science. 90:5324-5333
  • Hélias A., Tréléa I.C., Corrieu G. (2008). Assessment of respiratory activity during surface-mould cheese ripening. Journal of Food Engineering. 85, 632-638.
  • New process for cheese ripening and device for implementing said process. A Hélias, G. Corrieu, H. Guillemin, B. Perret, D. Picque. EOB n° 07301084.5 - June, 4th 2007 - extension PCT June, 4th 2008.