Okay, so let’s talk about cheese.
It’s delicious, it’s everywhere, and how it’s made is arguably one of the coolest science experiments any of us will ever eat!

Yes, your tasty hunk of brie, cube of cheddar, or slice of parmesan is made possible by a culinary act of science. More importantly, and don’t freak out, its made possible by microbes. (And, we promise, it’s not in a gross way.)

Image: Wine and cheese on a table

Source: Pixabay

We’ve written about his before, but let’s start with an important statement: NOT ALL MICROBES ARE BAD!

There are good microbes out there that keep us healthy, that do nothing and just hang out in our environment and are a part of the ecosystems we call home. There are even great microbes in and on our bodies that keep us alive! (Thanks, microbiome!)

Now, with that out of the way, we can get back to the cheese.

Cheese is fascinating not just because it’s delicious. It’s also fascinating because, even though we’ve been making it for thousands of years, we still don’t know exactly how it works.

In order to get closer to figuring out how we have been able to turn milk into delicious cheesy goodness with the help of our bacterial friends, researchers at Rockefeller University started investigating the DNA of cheese. Well, at least the DNA of the microbes living in and on the cheese. What they found was incredible!

Here’s more on this fascinating study with a video from Verge Science!

So there you have it, a little more knowledge to appreciate your next bite of cheese a little more!

Beyond Cheese!

This story isn’t just about how cool cheese is. It’s also a great story about how powerful the technology we have today is. We are able to sequence DNA efficiently enough to investigate the science of cheese! Something made even cooler by the fact that we only discovered that DNA even existed in the 1950s.

DNA sequencing is being used in other remarkable ways. For instance, did you know we can use the blood found in leeches to help us track species populations in remote habitats!

7 minutes

Unearthing the DNA of the Jungle with Leeches

How can leeches help biologist study remote ecosystems? It turns out researchers can use these often overlooked creatures to learn about species hidden from view! Here's the fascinating story.

Read More

When we have the technology to help us, our curiosity can be limitless. Access to the tools of innovation is, more than ever, at our fingertips. More and more people are now able to act on their scientific impulses and investigate the world around them without having to live in a place with world class facilities!

20 minutes

Community Laboratories are Changing What’s Possible

Genspace is the world's first DIY biolab; letting members of the community from all walks of life get a closer look at the building blocks of our world. Science isn't just for scientists, and the amazing projects and discoveries coming from Genspace and community laboratories like it, are proving this to be true.

Read More

Who know’s what we’ll find next!

Stay curious & keep laughing!

-Liesl

Want to explore more amazing innovations?

Just pop into this category!

Innovation on EWC

And make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss our next article!

Notes:

  1. “The Microbial Truth of How Your Cheese Gets Made.” YouTube, Verge Science, 5 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz7qT9oqYGA. Accessed 19 Sept. 2018.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV