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Starter cultures are an important aid in the production of dairy products. They ensure a specific fermentation and have an influence on the acidification, coagulation, maturation or aroma formation of the milk products. Bacteria (mainly lactic acid bacteria) as well as yeasts and fungi are used as starter cultures.
The selective use of starter cultures has a direct influence on the consistency and taste of dairy products.
During the fermentation of milk, acidification occurs, resulting in coagulation. Yeasts, fungi and in particular lactic acid bacteria lead to a microbial conversion of substances, in which the pH value drops and acidification occurs. By lowering the pH value, the milk protein precipitates and the milk coagulates.
The optimal temperature for lactic acid bacteria is between approx. 20-45°C. They are able to form the enzyme lactase, which splits the sugar (lactose) in the milk into glucose and galactose in the presence of water.
The split simple sugars are metabolised further by the bacteria and finally broken down into lactic acid. This leads to a lowering of the pH value, which in an acidic environment causes the milk protein casein to coagulate and results in a thickening or firmer consistency.