Rennet is a mixture of the enzymes chymosin and pepsin naturally found in the stomach, i.e. abomasum, of young ruminants such as goat, sheep and cattle.
Rennet makes the milk coagulate, and its biological function is to delay the passage of milk through the stomach of the young. By this, the digestion and absorption of the milk’s nutritional components become more efficient.
In food industry, rennet is used in cheese production. The cheese-making tradition is based on very old empiric knowledge, where mainly bovine rennet is used.
The major part of the Swedish cheese is made by the use of animal rennet, produced by extraction from calf´s abomasum, but recombinant rennet (FPC, Fermentation-Produced Chymosin) is increasingly used. FPC is produced by genetically modified microorganisms, constructed to overexpress chymosin. Therefore, FPC has slightly other characteristics than calf rennet which is a mixture of chymosin and pepsin.
Rennets from other animal species, such as goat kid and lamb, is completely missing on the Swedish market, despite the increasing number of dairy farmers, producing cheese from goat and sheep milk.
The goal of this project is to produce species specific rennets from goad kids, lambs and calves, bread and slaughtered in Sweden. The project includes production, evaluation and optimization of the rennets from these ruminants, as well as evaluation of their application in cheesemaking processes.
The project is ongoing until 2021-12-30 and is in a collaboration between the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Swedish farmhouse dairy producers and Scandirenn Kemikalia AB.
The project is part of the European Innovation Partnership, EIP-Agri, and is financed by the Swedish Board of Agriculture and EU.