Serpa PDO cheese: towards identification of chemical markers involved in organoleptic attributes

Helena Araújo-Rodrigues, Freni K. Tavaria, Maria Teresa P. G. dos Santos, Nuno Alvarenga, Manuela M. Pintado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review



Serpa is a PDO cheese manufactured using raw ovine milk and extracts of C. cardunculus L. as rennet, without addition of starter cultures and followed by a minimum (but safe) ripening period. Both the processing technology and ingredients used result in a high microbial biodiversity that allows the development of a unique flavor. Variations in the manufacture process and distinct milk composition among producers result in a considerably heterogeneous cheese. The present study aimed at screening some groups of sensorial related compounds during two consecutive months of production, towards the identification of chemical markers involved in the specificity of Serpa cheese. The results suggested a high diversity and heterogenous chemical composition according to the producer and month. The free amino acids (FAAs) profile suggested the presence of almost all amino acids in the analyzed cheeses, being glutamic acid, alanine, leucine, valine and phenylalanine the most prevalent ones. Regarding the organic acid profile, lactic and acetic acids were the dominant groups. The volatile analysis suggested a high diversity and variability of volatile composition between cheeses, including several chemical groups, namely, ethyl esters, aldehydes and alcohols. The identification of sensorial chemical markers will be crucial to guide the selection and development of an autochthonous starter culture to improve Serpa’s quality and safety.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLivro de Atas do XIV Encontro de química dos alimentos indústria, ciência, formação e inovação
Place of PublicationViana do Castelo
PublisherInstituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9789899893696
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
EventXIV Encontro de Química dos Alimentos - Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Duration: 6 Nov 20189 Nov 2018


ConferenceXIV Encontro de Química dos Alimentos
CityViana do Castelo


  • Serpa cheese
  • Sensorial markers
  • FAAs
  • Organic acids
  • Volatile compounds


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