Plant rennet

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Plant rennet , Increased worldwide cheese production, coupled with declining supply and rising prices for animal yeast,

has led to the search for milk-coagulating enzymes as suitable substitutes for whey. In addition, some religious factors (Islam and Judaism), animal diseases, and industrial overproduction, and other vegetarian-related factors have restricted the consumption of some consumers. Research suggests that plant proteases may be used as a suitable, low-cost, and safe alternative to other cheeses.

Plant coagulants have been used as milk coagulants for centuries. The result cheeses are mainly found in the Mediterranean, West Africa, and southern Europe.

Plant coagulant has become one of the topics of interest in the cheese industry due to its availability and easy purification processes. Products that are commonly used as vegetable coagulants are available in the form of liquid vegetable rennet, Vegetable Rennet Tablets, or Organic Liquid Vegetable Rennet.

Plant rennet functions:

The use of different types of plant proteases in cheese technology degradation the protein matrix of the milk and leads to differences in the sensory properties of cheese. The enzymatic activity of Plant rennet is mainly related to the function of aspartic protease or those containing serine and cysteine residues.

In addition to their main function in milk coagulation, plant proteases play an important role in cheese ripening. Hydrolysis of caseins in cheese by the remaining coagulation enzyme produces an essential substrate for some bacterial microflora whose activity gives rise to flavor during ripening. Thus, by using aspartic plant proteases, the ripening period of cheeses can be shortened.

 Classification of types of plant rennet:

Different types of plant proteases are used in milk coagulation and cheese production.

Plant proteases are classified into different groups based on the catalytic mechanism used during the hydrolytic process.

The main classes of milk coagulation proteases include the following:

- Aspartic proteases

- Serine proteases

- Cysteine proteases

The number and type of enzymes vary from species to species and depend on the part of the plant.


Plant rennet sources:

These enzymes are found in almost all plant tissues and can be obtained from natural sources (various plant organs such as flowers, seeds, roots, and leaves) or through laboratory cultures to ensure a continuous supply of plant proteases. But plant proteases can be extracted naturally from the following plants:

- Cynara cardunculus

- Centaurea calcitrapa

- Withania coagulans

- Plants of tropical regions such as Carica papayas, Ananas comosus, Ficus glabra, and Kiwi

- Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Lactuca sativa


Features of vegetable cheeses:


The functional structure of different rennet is generally similar, and the structural difference between plant proteases, animal and microbial proteases in the presence of an additional 100 amino acid chain.

The optimum temperature of these coagulants is higher than non-plant coagulants. And thermal processes do not have much adverse effect on plant rennet’s curds. Also, the function of these enzymes is improved by adding calcium to milk.

Rheological properties of milk curds and sensory properties of cheeses produced by plant rennet vary according to the type of coagulant, enzymatic activity, and concentration. However, with increasing intensity of proteolysis, the degradation of the protein matrix in produced cheese with plant rennet increases, and a softer texture is produced, which in turn increases the softness of the cheese. Therefore, in terms of sensory properties, cheeses made with plant coagulants are less strong and in terms of taste, they are more bitter than microbial enzymes and animal rennet. Statistically, there was no significant difference in non-protein nitrogen between the cheeses.

By choosing a suitable plant coagulant with the best ratio of milk clotting activity to proteolytic activity, using low coagulation dose, optimizing various coagulation parameters, and controlling the ripening stage, the cheese can be prevented from becoming bitter and excellent results in terms of rheological properties and create a sensation in cheeses produced with the fresh plant rennet (texture and taste).

On the other hand, the high enzymatic activity of plant coagulants can solve the problem of hard texture and the undesirable taste of cheeses produced with ultra-filtrated milk.

Other benefits of using plant enzymes include cost savings.




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