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Research Call

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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2010 10RDTMFRC704 Teagasc (UL, UCC, UCD, AFBI) €1,298,001

Project Title:

National Cheese Research Programme 2015

Project Coordinator:

Dr Phil Kelly

Project Abstract

The Irish Cheese Research Consortium (ICRC) combines the scientific and technological capabilities of its 4 participating institutions TEAGASC, UCC, UL and UCD along with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland (AFBI) to address comprehensively all six strands of the FIRM 2010 Cheese Research Call. The ICRC embraces the Irish dairy industry’s forecast (Food Harvest 2020) for substantial expansion in cheese production both in overall volume and in specific varieties over the next 10 years. Drawing on substantial experience of supporting the cheese industry over the past 30 years with the development of robust cheese starter cultures, technological underpinning of Irish Cheddar production and development of novel hybrid cheeses, the consortium is well positioned to support immediate work on the production of reduced fat, low salt cheese variants to address growing health concerns, as well as addressing longer term cheese diversification opportunities. New scientific thinking is being brought to bear in order to address the hardness of reduced fat cheese e.g. using soft matter concepts such as ‘jammed polymer networks’ as a means of opening up the matrix in the first instance before exploring the interaction with new flavour compensating culture techniques. Molecular biological techniques based around the Teagasc Pyrosequencer and UL’s Flow Cytometer will be used to characterise and establish the extent to which variation in indigenous microflora affects cheese quality, particularly among non-Cheddar varieties. This is expected to not alone guide the implementation of better microbiological control, but also be the basis for the harvesting of new adjunct cultures for exploitation in cheese diversification. While global per capita cheese consumption has held up well to date, regulatory and other pressures that reflect negative health attributes (e.g. saturated fats, trans fat, salt) are being established as well as some proactive measures in the project.

Final Report:

Final Report - 10RDTMFRC701 (pdf 325Kb)