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Potential of microencapsulation in cheese production

Principal investigator

Project type
Znanstveno-istraživački projekti
European Regional Development Fund
European Commission
Start date
Dec 20th 2019
End date
Dec 20th 2022
Total cost
7298987 HRK
More information

The project is a synergy of researchers from the Department of Chemistry (AF-ZK), the Department of General Animal Husbandry (AF-ZOS) and the Department of Dairy Science (AF-ZM) of applicants and researchers from partner institutions, thus providing an interdisciplinary approach to research into microencapsulated rennet. By working on various types of projects in the field of dairy sciences, the applicant achieved results and skills that contributed to the development of methodology in analysis and technology of milk and dairy products, molecular identification of lactic acid bacteria, genotyping of domestic animals and formulation of biopolymer microcapsules for controlled release. plants. The overall scientific research work of the applicant will contribute to the development of the project idea presented in this project. Key research was conducted through projects:

• Elements of organic production and analytical methods for proving the authenticity of cheese, MZOS, 2007-2010.

• Functional dairy products from sheep's milk, MZOS, 2007-2014.

• Characterization and tracking the origin of specific features of traditional cheeses in the Western Balkans, Joint European Research Projects -RegTrac. SEE-ERA NET PLUS, 2010-2012

• New biopolymer microcapsules for controlled release of plant protection / nutrition substances, HRZZ, 2015-2018.

• Smart Integration of Genetics with Sciences of the Past in Croatia: Minding and Mending the Gap - "MendTheGap", H2020-TWINN-2015, 2016.-2019.

Partner (VEF) has experience in research on protective cultures and bacteriocins in the project "Safety of traditional fermented sausages: research on protective cultures and bacteriocins" (2002-2005. EU INCO FP5) and food safety in the project "Selection and improvement of fit- for-purpose sampling procedures for specific foods and risks ”(2009.-2013. PROMISE, FP7).

In the project, we will use our partner's (IRB) long-term work experience on biotyping of microorganisms by the method based on proteomic fingerprint (MALDI TOF), and on the identification of proteins in complex biological mixtures (LC-MS).

The project contributes to the priority area of ​​TPP Food and Bioeconomy (sub-area PTPP Sustainable Food Production and Processing) through results that ensure the application of innovative technologies in the production of quality safe food, value-added food, and biodiversity.

The realization of the project will enable researchers to increase their competence and scientific recognition in the ERA and technical-technological competence according to the highest EU standards. A greater number of quality scientific papers published in relevant journals, greater scientific excellence and synergy between researchers in the fields of natural, biotechnical and biomedical sciences will be achieved. In the long run, it is expected to employ researchers through projects of wider regional impact, through cooperation with the dairy and other food industries (bakery, meat, etc.) that use enzymes in their production. The results will also have a positive effect on students in the context of acquiring knowledge in order to increase competitiveness in the labor market.

Business sector analyzes have shown interest in the application of innovative encapsulated rennet in cheese production, but also in other sectors of agriculture and the food industry. The project is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia, and currently there are several interested groups of end users on the market (provable attached letters of support). Those are:

• Sirane (MIH d.o.o. and OPG Oštarić)

• Croatian Agency for Agriculture

• Croatian Dairy Association

• Association - Croatian Small Dairies

• Association of Pag cheese producers

Also, the result of the innovative rennet project is the basis for investors to start a start-up company or expand their core business.

The project will include the transfer of knowledge to a selected 60 members of the target groups from agriculture and the food industry selected on the basis of previously expressed interest. The use of encapsulated natural rennet has no geographical limit and innovative rennet can be used at local, regional and European level. In particular, the application of innovative rennet can be significant for producers of traditional and boutique cheeses. For the Republic of Croatia, the use of innovative rennet in the production of traditional cheeses can significantly increase the recognition of the quality of these cheeses on the global market. Also, the results of the project can significantly increase cross-sectoral cooperation between the food industry and tourism industries.

The project plans to extract rennet (coagulating enzyme) from rennet lambs (which are mostly discarded) and prepare it in microencapsulated form, which is an innovation in rennet production. The encapsulation technique protects the activity of the enzyme and allows its release at controlled time intervals according to the requirements of technological processes of cheese production.

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