Experts crack mystery of holes in Swiss cheese

2015-05-28 21:16
Switzerland (Picture: AFP)

Switzerland (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - Eureka! After about a century of research, Swiss scientists have finally cracked the mystery of the holes in Swiss cheese.

Despite what you may have been told as a child, they are not caused by mice nibbling away inside cheese wheels.

Experts from Agroscope, a state centre for agricultural research, said the phenomenon - which marks famous Swiss cheeses such as Emmental and Appenzell - was caused by tiny bits of hay present in the milk and not bacteria as previously thought.

They found that the mystery holes in such cheeses became smaller or disappeared when milk used for cheese-making was extracted using modern methods.

"It's the disappearance of the traditional bucket" used during milking that caused the difference, said Agroscope spokesperson Regis Nyffeler, adding that bits of hay fell into it and then eventually caused the holes.

Agroscope said the subject had been under study since at least 1917 when American William Clark published a detailed study and came to the conclusion that it was caused by carbon dioxide released by bacteria present in the milk.

Agroscope scientists noted that Swiss cheeses had fewer holes over the past 10 to 15 years as open buckets were replaced by sealed milking machines which "completely did away with the presence of tiny hay particles in the milk".

Read more on:    switzerland  |  research

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.