Reducing Allergic Reactions to Cheese

Title: Certain microbes may reduce allergy-like reactions in many people

Date: April 16, 2019


Researchers at Iowa State University are studying bacteria strains of the genus Brevibacterium that have genetic pathways to reduce histamine production.   Histamine is a compound involved in human immune response and around one present of people get allergy-like symptoms from the ingestion of it.   naturally forming biofilms of bacteria and fungi have been used in the cultivation of cheese for thousands of years.   These communities develop on the surface of the cheese and slowly form the rind of the cheese.   These communities are not well studied, and researchers lead by Stephan Schmitz-Esser are working to manipulate the fermenting communities to optimize the process and reduce the histamine production.

This was a well written article that communicated the issue effectively by explaining the cause and effects that lead to the study.   I found this article interesting because it divulged that there has not been a lot of research that has been done on the communities that comprise the fermentation of cheese products.   I find this surprising given it is a product we ingest, and we don’t even know the microbial composition of their processes.   Further research into the subject reviled that histamine formation is a huge product of cheese fermentation, but it can lead to histamine intoxication.   This can halt fermentation.   If conditions become toxic for fermenting species the entire process halts.   It turns out, the sole carbon source of the Brevibacterium species being studied is histamine!   This putative metabolic pathway for histamine degradation is critical for cheese ripening and solidifies Brevibacteriums importance.   This connects to our lessons of the fermentation process and the formation of bio-films.   The complexity of this community and the interdependence that makes their variety necessary is truly amazing.   I am curious how fungal species contribute to the rind forming biofilms?   I did not find anything about their role in the microbial community but would be interested to know more.


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