Lactose content in typical Italian Gorgonzola cheese: a pilot study

Abstract

Background

Gorgonzola is an Italian blue-veined cheese in which Penicillium roqueforti develops as a blue-green mould. Gorgonzola cheese is produced in the Italian Piedmont and Lombardy regions, according to a procedure precisely defined by a “Protected Denomination of Origin” (PDO) protocol. Due to the production technique and the presence of lactic acid bacteria, Gorgonzola cheese is considered completely free of lactose by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) classification. Short-ripened Gorgonzola cheese (“dolce” variety), on the other hand, may contain residual lactose. The aim of this study was to investigate the actual lactose content in “dolce” Gorgonzola samples obtained from market.

Methods and results

Two different groups of Gorgonzola samples were analysed. Groups were composed of 11 (Group A) and 15 (Group B) samples respectively, produced in 26 different plants, all members of the “Consorzio del Gorgonzola” (Novara, Italy). The collected samples were sent to two commercial laboratories in Novara, Italy under refrigeration (ca. 6°C) and immediately analysed or frozen. Lactose was detected in only one sample of the two groups, at a clinically non-significant level (0.063 g/100 g).

Conclusion

Gorgonzola cheese is virtually lactosefree and may be suitable for lactose-intolerant patients who want to enjoy a popular Italian cheese.

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Correspondence to Mario Del Piano.

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Del Piano, M., Tari, R. & Carmagnola, S. Lactose content in typical Italian Gorgonzola cheese: a pilot study. Nutrafoods 11, 63–67 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13749-012-0020-4

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Keywords

  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • fermentation
  • lactose
  • lactase