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https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.22.0080    [Accepted] Published online June 30, 2022.
Fatty acids composition and lipolysis of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese: effect of the milk cooling temperature at the farm
Piero Franceschi1  , Paolo Formaggioni1  , Milena Brasca2  , Giuseppe Natrella3,*  , Michele Faccia3  , Massimo Malacarne1,*  , Andrea Summer1 
1Department of Veterinary Science, University of Parma, Via del Taglio 10, I-43126, Parma, Italy
2Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council, Via Celoria 2, IT-20133 Milano, Italy
3Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, 70125 Bari, Italy
Correspondence:  Giuseppe Natrella,Email: giuseppe.natrella@uniba.it
Massimo Malacarne, Tel: +39-0521-032615, Fax: +39-0521-032611, Email: massimo.malacarne@unipr.it
Received: 2 March 2022   • Revised: 26 April 2022   • Accepted: 23 May 2022
The aim was to study the influence of cooling milk at 9 °C at the farm versus keeping it at 20 °C on Parmigiano Reggiano cheese lipolysis.
A total of six cheesemaking trials (3 in winter and 3 in summer) were performed. In each trial, milk was divided continuously into two identical aliquots, one of which was kept at 9°C (MC9) and the other at 20°C (MC20). For each trial and milk temperature, vat milk (V-milk) and the resulting 21 month ripened cheese were analysed.
Fat and dry matter and fat/casein ratio were lower in MC9 V-milk (p≤0.05) than in MC20. Total bacteria, mesophilic lactic acid and psychrotrophic and lipolytic bacteria showed significant differences (p≤0.05) between the two V-milks. Regarding cheese, fat content resulted lower and crude protein higher (p≤0.05) both in outer (OZ) and in inner zone (IZ) of the MC9 cheese wheels. Concerning total fatty acids, the MC9 OZ had a lower concentration of butyric, capric (p≤0.05) and medium chain fatty acids (p≤0.05), while the MC9 IZ had lower content of butyric (p≤0.05), caproic (p≤0.01) and short chain fatty acids (p≤0.05). The levels of short chain and medium chain free fatty acids (p≤0.05) were lower and that of long chain fatty acids (p≤0.05) was higher in MC9 OZ cheese. The principal component analysis (PCA) of total and free fatty acids resulted in a clear separation among samples by seasons, whereas slight differences were observed between the two different milk temperatures.


Storing milk at 9°C at the herd affects the chemical composition of Parmigiano Reggiano, with repercussion on lipolysis. However, the changes are not very relevant, and since the cheese can present a high variability among the different cheese factories, such changes should be considered within the “normal variations” of Parmigiano Reggiano chemical characteristics.
Keywords: Cheese Fat Composition; Cheese Lipolysis; Fatty Acids; Milk Cooling; Parmigiano Reggiano
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