Determination of the Major Free Fatty Acids of Cheddar Cheese1,2

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      The major individual free fatty acids (FFA), acetic through linolenic, were determined in 14 samples of Cheddar cheese. A technique utilizing two methods of column chromatography plus gas-liquid chromatography was necessary for resolution of the complete series of FFA. Formic and propionic acids were not observed in any of the cheeses. Acetic acid showed the greatest variability in concentration and was usually the most abundant. Among the FFA which can arise through the hydrolysis of milk fat, free butyric acid was always found in about twice the percentage reported for esterified butyric acid. The individual FFA from caproic through linolenic, however, were present in nearly the same ratio as the same esterified acids in milk fat. Excluding two rancid samples, the average concentrations (expressed as mg of FFA per kg of cheese) were as follows: 2:0, 865; 4:0, 115: 6:0, 38; 8:0, 41: 10:0, 49; 12:0, 81; 14:0, 218; 16:0, 503; 18:0, 172; 18:1, 467; 18:2, 69; 18:3, 40. In the two rancid samples the concentrations of acetic acid fell within the range found in the 12 other samples. Each of the individual FFA from butyric through linolenic, however, was present in the rancid samples in about ten times the average concentration found in the 12 other samples.


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