Organoleptic chemical markers of serpa PDO cheese specificity

Helena Araújo-Rodrigues, António P. L. Martins, Freni K. Tavaria, Maria Teresa G. Santos, Maria João Carvalho, João Dias, Nuno B. Alvarenga, Manuela E. Pintado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Serpa is a protected designation of origin cheese produced with a vegetable coagulant (Cynara cardunculus L.) and raw ovine milk. Despite the unique sensory profile of raw milk cheeses, numerous parameters influence their sensory properties and safety. To protect the Serpa cheese quality and contribute to unifying their distinctive features, some rheologic and physicochemical parameters of cheeses from four PDO producers, in distinct seasons and with different sensory scores, were monitored. The results suggested a high chemical diversity and variation according to the dairy, month and season, which corroborates the significant heterogeneity. However, a higher incidence of some compounds was found: a group of free amino acids (Glu, Ala, Leu, Val and Phe), lactic and acetic acids, some volatile fatty acids (e.g., iC4, iC5, C6 and C12) and esters (e.g., ethyl butanoate, decanoate and dodecanoate). Through the successive statistical analysis, 13 variables were selected as chemical markers of Serpa cheese specificity: C3, C4, iC5, C12, Tyr, Trp, Ile, 2-undecanone, ethyl isovalerate, moisture content on a fat-free basis, the nitrogen-fractions (maturation index and non-protein and total nitrogen ratio) and G’1 Hz. These sensory markers’ identification will be essential to guide the selection and development of an autochthonous starter culture to improve cheese quality and safety issues and maintain some of the Serpa authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1898
Number of pages25
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Chemical markers
  • Free amino acids
  • Organic acids
  • Sensory analysis
  • Serpa PDO cheese
  • Volatiles


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