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Sci-Q: San Diego Experts Talk About The Science Of Cheese

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The Science of Cheese

Turophiles take note: San Diego's Venissimo Cheese and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center are collaborating to pair cheese and science in a series of four open-to-the-public classes beginning Wednesday Sept. 30.

Preparing food is an art, but it is also very much science. Some would say the act of making a cake or thickening a sauce involves principles of chemistry and physics.

A new lab moving to UC San Diego is using cheese as a way to understand the way microbes work. So we are dedicating this edition of our SCI-Q series to explore the science of cheese.

Rachel Dutton is head of the Dutton Lab, which researches the microbial ecosystem of cheese.

"Normally, you would think you don’t want bacteria and fungi in food or mold in your food," Dutton said. "Cheese is an example of this where people have figured out conditions for encouraging the growth of beneficial microbes so these are microbes that actually help us preserve food and in addition to that, sort of introduce all these interesting flavors to food."

Dutton told KPBS Midday Edition that molds have a "huge impact in the way cheese can taste." She uses blue cheese as an example that is "inoculated with a mold."

"I can't imagine a more interesting fermented food than cheese," Dutton said. "It's been an amazing ecosystem to study."

Robert Graff, co-host of the class and cheesemonger for Venissimo Cheese, said thousands of cheese exist.

"Say Cheese!" a four-part event series at the Reuben H.Fleet Science Center. The address is 1875 El Prado in San Diego.


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