Although there are several studies comparing organic and conventional milk characteristics, very few focused on dairy processed products such as cheese. Thus, this study aimed for a detailed controlled examination of gross composition, minerals, and the fatty acid profile of organic (ORG) and conventional (CON) Italian cheeses from parallel production. Four Italian cheese types were analyzed: 'Latteria' (ORG, n = 9; CON, n = 10); 'Asiago Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) fresco' (ORG, n = 9; CON, n = 9); 'Caciotta' (ORG, n = 8; CON, n = 8); and 'Mozzarella Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG)' (ORG, n = 14; CON, n = 14). Cheese samples were collected from September 2020 to August 2021. Gross composition, minerals, and fatty acids were determined using infrared spectroscopy. Within each cheese type, paired ORG and CON samples were compared using a non-parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test. 'Latteria' showed lower PUFA, n-3, and n-6 content, and greater Fe, K, C10:0, C12:0, and C16:0 content in ORG than CON (P < 0.05). 'Asiago PDO fresco' showed lower protein and Zn content, and greater salt, ash, and Na content in ORG than CON (P < 0.05). 'Caciotta' showed lower ash, n-3, and n-6 content and greater K, C4:0, C8:0, C10:0, C14:0, and C16:0 content in ORG than CON (P < 0.05). 'Mozzarella TSG' showed lower fat and, therefore, fatty acids content, and greater moisture, ash, and Mg content in ORG than CON (P < 0.05). In conclusion, few significant differences in chemical composition were observed between ORG and CON cheeses, regardless of the type considered. Moreover, 'Asiago PDO fresco' showed fewer significant differences between ORG and CON when compared with 'Latteria', 'Caciotta', and 'Mozzarella TSG'.
Bibliographical noteThe Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. and Fass Inc. on behalf of the American Dairy Science Association®. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
FunderThis research was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 774340 (Organic-PLUS project). The authors thank Latteria Sant'Andrea (Treviso, Italy), Latteria Vicente (Vicenza, Italy), and Latteria Soligo (Treviso, Italy) for providing the samples and Dr. Mauro Penasa (University of Padova, Italy) for feedback on the paper. C.L. Manuelian is currently a postdoctoral researcher funded with a María Zambrano grant of the Spanish Ministry of Universities (funded by European Union-Next Generation EU; MZ2021-86).
- low-input system
- product quality
- PDO food
- quality control