A survey of fat-soluble antioxidants, linolenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid content of traditional Algerian Bouhezza cheese

Vita Maria Marino 1*, Abdassalem Belbeldi 2, Stefania La Terra 1, Mario Manenti 1, Giuseppe Licitra 1, 3 and Stefania Carpino 1

1- Consorzio di Ricerca della Filiera Lattiero Casearia, Ragusa, Italy.
2- Institut de la Nutrition de l’Alimentation et des Technologies Agro-Alimentaires, Université Mentouri de Constantine, Route Ain El Bey, Constantine, Algérie.
3- Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Agrarie e Alimentari, University of Catania, Italy.


Bouhezza is a traditional Algerian low-fat soft cheese. It can be produced from goat, sheep, cow milk or from mixed milks. The traditional cheesemaking of Bouhezza cheese requires the preparation of a natural container – “chekoua” – from goat or sheep skin, with the role of serum separator and solid phase. In these skin-bags, the “lben” is obtained by churning and partially skimming of spontaneously fermented milk. The end of the manufacturing is characterized by the addition of whole raw milk, that allows to correct the cheese salinity and acidity. The aim of this study was to characterize the composition of healthy beneficial molecules in Bouhezza cheese. A total of six individual cheeses, manufactured from cow milk in six rural farms located in the Aurès Mountains of south of Constantine in Algeria, was collected. Bouhezza cheese samples were kept into the “chekoua” bags for a period of 30 days and only three of these samples were spiced with red pepper at the end of manufacturing. The cheese samples were analysed for fat-soluble vitamins, linolenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid content. Beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol levels referred to 100g of cheese ranged 0.03 – 0.2 mg and 0.1 – 0.5 mg, respectively. Beta-carotene content was significantly higher in cheese samples spiced with red pepper. Linolenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid levels referred to 100 g of cheese ranged 30 – 58 mg and 6.0 – 11.5 mg, respectively. Raw milk quality and production technology might explain the variations of healthy beneficial molecules content in Bouhezza cheese samples.

Key words: Bouhezza cheese, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, linolenic acid, conjugated linoleic acid, health.

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Vita Maria Marino