Microbial biodiversity is huge, and our current understanding of the subject is still inadequate. This also holds true for fermented foods such as cheeses or raw, cured sausages, especially when they are manufactured without heat treatment and with starter cultures composed of undefined and diverse microorganisms (MOs). This research project aims to understand the biodiversity of the MOs used and to develop scientific principles for making targeted use of and preserving said biodiversity.
As the only remaining breed of horse with its origins in Switzerland, the Franches-Montagnes is particularly important. Agroscope’s Swiss National Stud has genetically diverse breeding stallions, and offers their services at covering stations throughout Switzerland. Moreover, research into the management of small populations not only promotes species diversity, but also the marketability of the horses. The methods thus developed can also be used for other livestock.
The production of cheese from raw milk is an important unique selling point on the competitive international market, contributing strongly to the product’s qualitative and sensorial differentiation. Knowledge of the biodiversity and metabolism of the microbial flora of cheeses is very important for this. By developing cutting-edge analytical methods, Agroscope makes an important contribution to ensuring the quality leadership of Swiss cheeses.
Biopreservation represents a still-underestimated means of positively influencing the food microbiome. The aims of this project are to study the biodiversity contained in cheese flora and to analyse the protective effects of the latter against pathogenic organisms and organisms which alter food quality.
The terroir- and variety-specific microbial cultures developed and manufactured by Agroscope represent a key success factor for commercially produced Swiss cheese varieties, and ensure that the latter will survive in international competition into the future, owing to their uniqueness in the global context and the quality of their cultures.
Reliable microbial cultures contribute decisively to the quality, safety, differentiation and authenticity of cheeses and other fermented foods. New starter- and special cultures are developed by making use of the biodiversity of the Liebefeld Strain Collection.