Penicillin roqueforti, which is a saprophytic fungus is essential for the production of blue cheese which contains internal mold. The fungus is found in nature where it can be isolated from some plants, soil, and decaying matter (Ropars, et al, 2014). Among the major industrial uses of fungi is the production of blue cheese. Also, penicillin roqueforti is used industrially in the production of antifungals, enzymes, and flavoring agents. In recent years there has been an increased popularity of a starter culture, among the starters enjoyed is the blue cheese which is given a distinctive taste and flavor by p roqueforti fungus (Bourdichon, et al, 2012). Despite these useful industrial uses the fungus has been known to produce certain harmful secondary metabolites under certain conditions of growth. This essay will focus more on the penicillin roqueforti and its industrial use in the production of blue cheese.
The fungus is responsible for the texture of the blue cheese. Blue cheese is a general term used to describe a wide range of cheeses that have a common characteristic, a blue-like vein in the air spaces in the cheese. These cheeses are made from cow, sheep, or goat’s milk and their process of ripening involves the addition of the fungus penicillin roqueforti (Cantor, 2017). The fungi help in the breakdown of casein found in milk, this breakdown helps to enhance the texture of the cheese. The fungi are responsible for the popularity of the cheese as it gives it a distinct characteristic texture. The cheese is characterized by blue, black, or grey veining or spotting through the body due to the fungi. The addition of these fungi helps in softening the texture of the cheese (Cantor, 2017). The cheese is normally semi-soft and creamy, penicillin roqueforti plays a key role in ensuring this texture of the cheese s attained. It is partly due to these characteristics that make blue cheese popular.
Further, penicillin roqueforti is responsible for the flavor of blue cheese. Cheesemakers usually add the fungus during the ripening of the cheese to help in “breaking down” which greatly helps in the enhancement of the flavor (Cantor, 2017). The development of the distinctive flavor of these cheeses is usually dependent on the combined action of several enzymes produced by the fungus which are embroiled in the metabolism of proteins and lipids. Proteases produced by the p roqueforti fungus are involved in the degradation of casein which in turn help in the enhancement of the texture and the flavor of the cheese. Hydlolisation of the milk triglycerides by lipase provides fatty acids which have a nice flavor and precursors of methyl ketones. When the fermentation of penicillin roqueforti occurs, it leads to the rapid production of methyl ketones. Methyl ketones are responsible for the key flavor constituents of blue cheese (Cantor, 2017).
Penicillin roqueforti fungus can be found generally in nature. It can be found in some plants, soil, and decaying matter. The fungus can be found in many living plants and it is one of those fungi which is a plant parasite (Ropars, et al, 2014). It can be found in dead plant material and has been previously isolated in the herbaceous plants, leaves, and wood of dead plants. Penicillin roqueforti also commonly occurs as a spoilage agent in foods such as bread and fruits. The fungi have a capacity of tolerating low temperatures and can hence be even found in refrigerated food. Also, it can be found in other environments such as soil, air, and silage (Ropars, et al, 2014).
Despite the beneficial uses of penicillin roqueforti, the fungus may also be associated with some risks, among these risks is food poisoning among animal feeds and food products. P roqueforti has over time been shown to produce mycotoxins which are toxic compounds. Among the toxic compounds, it produces include PR toxin, roqueforti, festuclavine isofumigaclavin C, penicillic acid, and patulin (Vallone, Giardini & Soncini, 2014). Among the effects caused by the ingestion of these mycotoxins are extensive liver damage, tumorigenesis, and mutagenesis as well as nerve and kidney damage. The toxicity of PR toxin and roqueforti are however low. During blue cheese production, the conditions under which the production takes place to create an environment that is unsuitable for the production of these toxins. The PR toxin produced during cheese making quickly reacts with nitrogen compounds and casein resulting in PR amine which is less toxic (Hidalgo, et al, 2014). Mycophenolic acid is used in the production of human drugs but has shown mutagenic toxicity in animals such as rats and rabbits. Patulin is considered teratogenic and neurotoxic (Vallone, Giardini & Soncini, 2014).
In conclusion, we can say that penicillin roqueforti is one of the most beneficial fungi which can be used economically. Its industrial use in the production of blue cheese, where it greatly enhances its texture and flavor is of great benefit. It is due to the bacteria that blue cheese is quite popular. The fungi are easy to get since it is found in nature where they can be isolated from soil, plants, or decaying matter. It is, however, important to ensure that the blue cheese production is done in the right environment so that it can limit the production of mycotoxins by the bacteria since these mycotoxins can cause harmful effects.