Mambelli uses a major by-product to create an innovative cheese

Mambelli is an Italian family-run dairy factory established in 1970. It is located in a region called Romagna and produces typical soft and fresh cheeses and dairy products. In this interview, dairy owner and INGREEN project partner, Federica Mambelli talks about the natural preservative developed from the whey sidestream.

What products and processes has Mambelli contributed to developing in INGREEN? 
Mambelli dairy is taking part in INGREEN with the aim to develop functional and innovative products from biotechnology ingredients, obtained by reusing whey, a major by-product of the cheese-making process. We are developing an innovative caciotta thanks to use of bio-based ingredients. The INGREEN project ferments this whey with a particular yeast to create a new ingredient. After 48 hours of fermentation, a process conducted in a bioreactor, we obtained the final whey enriched by Yarrowia Lypolitica biomass.  

This unique yeast has important proteolytic characteristics that enable protein to be broken down as well as lipolytic characteristics that may reduce the ripening time of cheese compared to our benchmark. In addition, the whey obtained from fermentation is directly used in the cheesemaking and during the rind treatment of cheese. We observed a positive action of this newly developed yeast to avoid the formation of mold on the surface of the cheese.

What is the reason you participated in this BBI project? What is the added value for your company? 
Mambelli happily decided to take part in this project because we think it’s a great opportunity for growth and comparison because we collaborate with the University of Bologna (UNIBO) and other technical-scientific partners. Moreover, our company has at heart sustainability and thinks the reuse of by-products is beneficial. Thanks to this project not only are we more sustainable but we also obtain a greener product that avoids the treatment of the cheese surface with non-edible preservatives. We believe these aspects could represent an added value for our company. In the future, we hope to put an innovative and more sustainable product on the market that could be of interest to many of our clients.

Mambelli has shown its commitment to sustainability by participating in the INGREEN project. What other activities has your company conducted to improve sustainability
As mentioned before, sustainability is very important to us. At the moment we are replacing plastic packaging with compostable packaging, which is a more sustainable option for us and for our consumers.

Moreover, the company recently bought new software and new automatic systems that are able to clean water used in the cheesemaking process through washing cycles, allowing Mambelli to recover as much water as possible.

Federica Mambelli and her sister Raffaella are the current owners of Mambelli. They are the third generation of the Mambelli family working at the cheese dairy. They produce typical soft and fresh cheeses and dairy products (like squacquerone di Romagna DOP, milk ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese). It is a craft company that employs less than 30 people.
Mambelli offers a great range of innovative products, proof of the great interest of the SME towards research and innovation. It is also suppliers of several important Italian distribution chains.

Photo: Federica Mambelli