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

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

In this Circle

Is it the Age of the Bacteriophage?

28 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

A tiny, powerful hero in the face of antibiotic resistance is living all around us. Meet the bacteriophage: bacteria's natural sworn enemy and the deadliest organism on the planet that, amazingly, doesn't harm us at all.
Read More

Shifting Perspectives: The Discovery of the Microscopic World

6 minutes

[ Education Enrichment ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

The discovery of microorganisms completely changed the way we looked at the world. In this age of science are we just as close to perspective shifting discovery?
Read More

The Bacteria that Lights Up This Squid’s Life

7 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

The relationship between the bobtail squid and this bacteria is the definition of a healthy relationship. And maybe we can all learn a little something from them!
Read More

Meet Your Microbiome!

8 minutes

[ Education Enrichment ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Did you know you are home to millions of invisible creatures? Say hello your microbiome, the ecosystem of microscopic organisms that help keep you alive!
Read More

The Bread as Unique as the Place You Make It

10 minutes

[ Culture ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

There is a revival happening. And it's coming in the form of something we all love: bread! Sourdough has been a connection to the bread ovens of our ancestors for more than 5000 years, and now you can travel the kitchens of the world from a unique library in Belgium!
Read More

Have You Met The Animal That Can Survive in Space?

7 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Tardigrades are the definition of "small but mighty". They're never any bigger than 1.5mm, but these creatures can survive pretty much everything!
Read More

The DNA of CHEESE!

8 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Cheese isn't just delicious, it's also a remarkable feat of science! And scientists are using DNA sequencing to learn more about it. Let's see what they're finding...
Read More

Astoundingly Intricate Designs of the Smallest Form

7 minutes

[ Art ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

What if beauty was all around us, in puddles and drainage ditches? Well, it most likely is and here's someone who can show us!
Read More

Reinventing Plastic with Methane and Microbes

14 minutes

[ Business ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

How close are we to reinventing plastic? Well, it looks like a future with easily accessible, truly biodegradable plastics that can replace the harmful plastics we use today is right around the corner—and it uses the power of bacteria! 
Read More

Bacteria as an Art Form?

8 minutes

[ Art ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

An MIT scientist studying how bacteria can detect cancer is teaming up with an artist to make living art. The results and their story are fascinating!
Read More

The Creature that Doesn’t Die?

6 minutes

[ Animals ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Let us introduce you to the hydra. These remarkable little organisms appear to defy the laws of nature with their seemingly immortal lifespan! Here's the story on these strange creatures.
Read More

Combing Caves for a Cure to Deadly Bacterial Infections

20 minutes

[ Conspiracy of Goodness ]

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

We've been able to protect ourselves from most bacterial infections for decades now, but that's changing. Deadly bacteria are catching onto our tactics and antibiotic resistance is on the rise. Here's how some scientists are working to stay one step ahead of this problem by exploring the depths of caves and the bacteria that call them home!
Read More