J J Sheehan

Salt affects the microbiology of cheese by increasing the osmotic pressure of its aqueous phase, causing dehydration of bacterial cells, either inactivating them or preventing their growth. The preservation effect of NaCl is due to its effect on water activity, aw. The aw of most cheese varieties is not low enough to prevent the growth of yeasts, moulds and many bacteria. However, NaCl in combination with low redox potential, low pH and low ripening temperature, is sufficient to control microbial growth and growth of pathogens.

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