An Intriguing Look at the Microbes That Make Cheese

Alessandra Potenza of Verge Science spoke with microbiologists Jeanne Garbarino, Ph.D. and Odaelys Walwyn of The Rockefeller University in New York City to explore exactly which microbes are responsible for making cheese and what their DNA looks like. For the past few years, Garbarino, Walwyn and other researchers were taking samples from the developing rind of Murray’s Stockinghall cheddar from a cheese cave in Queens in order to sequence the DNA of the microbes at different points during maturation (microbial succession).

Cheese is delicious, beloved by many, and a teeming mess of microbes. Which microbes, exactly, has long been a mystery, but modern DNA sequencing tech is allowing researchers to take a peek behind the microscopic curtain.