French blue cheese is an endangered species

Blue Veined Cheese
Published Mar 14, 2024

Tridge summary

The cheese industry is facing a biodiversity crisis due to the genetic depletion of the fungi that give Camembert its unique flavor and appearance. The overuse of the albino version of Penicillium camemberti has led to a decrease in the production of asexual spores, affecting the availability of white mold spores for cheese production. This issue also impacts other cheese varieties like Roquefort. However, new varieties of the necessary fungus have been found in the Alps. Additionally, Beaufort cheese production is under threat due to droughts damaging pastures in the Tarentaise region.
Disclaimer: The above summary was generated by Tridge's proprietary AI model for informational purposes.

Original content

Decades of optimization and scaling up of production have led to the genetic depletion of the fungi that give Camembert its distinctive appearance and flavor, Agrarheute reports. To flatter the tastes of consumers who prefer a white, velvety layer of mold on the surface of the cheese, producers have narrowed the pool of mushrooms to the albino version, Penicillium camemberti. This fungus is a "mutant" that appeared in 1898 and has so far reproduced only vegetatively, i.e. by constantly dividing the same parent material. Over time, this fungus loses the ability to produce asexual spores and is unable to reproduce sexually. Cheese makers therefore lack white mold spores for cheese production. Some producers are already switching to Geotrichum candidum milk mold because it has a similar consistency, but gourmets will easily notice the difference. Until the 20th century, cheesemakers used different varieties of mold: gray, green and even orange. Biodiversity crisis in the cheese ...
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