Aspartic proteinases from Mucor spp. in cheese manufacturing
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Filamentous fungi belonging to the order of Mucorales are well known as producers of aspartic proteinases depicting milk-clotting activity. The biosynthesis level, the biochemical characteristics, and the technological properties of the resulting proteinases are affected by the producer strain and the mode of cultivation. While the milk-clotting enzymes produced by the Rhizomucor spp. have been extensively studied in the past, much less is known on the properties and potential applications of the aspartic proteinases obtained for Mucor spp. Indeed, several Mucor spp. strains have been reported as a potential source of milk-clotting enzymes having unique technological properties. Both submerged fermentation and solid substrate cultivation are proven alternatives for the production of Mucor spp. aspartic proteinases. This review provides an overview on the bioprocessing routes to obtain large amounts of these enzymes, on their structural characteristics as related to their functional properties, and on their industrial applications with focus on cheese manufacturing.