The quality of Valle del Belice sheep’s milk and cheese produced in the hot summer season in Sicily

Adriana Bonanno, Massimo Todaro, Maria Luisa Scatassa

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23 Citazioni (Scopus)


In response to the growing consumer demand for fresh cheese in summer,this investigation was aimed to evaluate the chemical and microbiologicalcharacteristics of sheep’s milk and cheese produced in Sicily in the hot summer months.A total of 810 bulk milk samples collected from 17 farms rearing ewes of the Valle delBelice breed were analysed for chemical composition, somatic cell count, total bacterialcount and clotting parameters. Samples (n=18) of Protected Designation of OriginVastedda della valle del Belice cheese produced in six dairies were collected insummer, autumn and spring and analysed for chemical composition, microbiologicalprofile and fatty acid (FA) composition. Univariate and multivariate analyses wereperformed to assess variations by season. Sheep’s milk produced in the summer hadhigher fat and casein contents, less lactose and urea and slightly higher total bacterialcount and, similar to milk produced in winter, had a weaker clotting ability. Vasteddacheese produced in spring had less thermophilic lactococci and a high rumenic acidcontent. Cheese produced in summer had more fat; less saturated FA; and more linoleicacid, monounsaturated FA and omega-3 polyunsaturated FA. A dual approach to dataanalysis revealed a strong influence of production season on bulk milk and Vasteddacheese characteristics due to climate conditions and ewes’ feeding regimen. Althoughthis study provides evidence of the good nutritional properties of summer sheep’scheese, management and feeding strategies could aim to further improve the quality ofmilk and cheese produced in the summer months.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)225-239
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1300.1303???


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