Food: Researchers warn of the end of Camembert mushrooms

French researchers have warned of a possible end to Camembert with its white, fluffy crust.

Food: Researchers warn of the end of Camembert mushrooms

French researchers have warned of a possible end to Camembert with its white, fluffy crust. A single fungal strain of the species Penicillium camemberti is currently used for the soft cheese, according to the magazine "Le Journal" from the French research center CNRS.

The strain is not reproduced sexually, so no new genetic material is added. Over time, he lost the ability to produce the spores necessary for reproduction. The article states that it has now become very difficult for producers to purchase the mushroom strain in sufficient quantities.

Camembert industry not threatened

However, biologist Tatiana Giraud from the Université Paris-Saclay does not see any short-term danger. "In the next five to 10 years the Camembert industry will not be threatened," she said in the newspaper Le Parisien. "But we want to draw attention to the dangers of too much standardization of species," Libération quoted her as saying.

In fact, until the middle of the 20th century, the crust of Camembert was sometimes slightly orange, grayish or green, as the CNRS magazine says. Companies then relied exclusively on the use of the white mushroom strain, which was already used for Camembert from 1902. The problem of low diversity of microorganisms also exists with other types of cheese, such as Roquefort, according to the CNRS. However, Camembert is particularly threatened.

Special aroma

It would therefore be entirely possible to ferment Camembert with other mushroom strains - but consumers would then have to be prepared for a changed color, a changed texture of the crust or a slightly different taste.

Like other types of cheese, Camembert is initially made from raw milk. During processing, its surface is inoculated with mold. It releases substances that give the cheese its special aroma.

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