Production of functional Ricotta Cheese
In this work, the suitability of Ricotta cheese as a food carrier for functional ingredients was evaluated. The probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei F19, inoculated at a concentration of 109 cfu/serving size, maintained high counts during the cold storage of Ricotta cheese (7 days at 5°C), without altering the nutritional and sensorial properties of Ricotta samples. Similarly, the addition of 3 % inulin did not significantly change the sensory profile of the cheese, whereas the addition of chestnut flour lowered the perceived sensory characteristics. The synbiotic formulation (with 3 % inulin and 109 cfu/serving size of Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei F19) altered the Ricotta sensorial characteristics, mainly for an excessive acidification.
Functional foods contain one or more components, such as probiotics and prebiotics, which present the potential to promote the health of the consumer through mechanisms not foreseen in conventional nutrition. Probiotics are defined as viable microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts (106 to 109 viable cells per day), are beneficial to the host (1-3). Among their features, probiotic microorganisms must be normal inhabitants of the human intestinal tract, must survive passage through the upper digestive tract in large numbers, and have beneficial effects when in the intestine. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) fulfil a number of the outlined criteria for the selection of probiotic strains, including the human intestinal origin, the ability to tolerate acid and bile salts, the low presence of mobilisable antibiotic resistances, as well as the adaptability to technological processes for cheese manufacture (4, 5). It was also shown that strains of Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei are able to grow in the presence of different prebiotics (6-8), defined as non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulati ...