Those funky cheese smells allow microbes to 'talk' to and feed each other

Researchers at Tufts University have found that those distinctly funky smells from cheese are one way that fungi communicate with bacteria, and what they are saying has a lot to do with the delicious variety of flavors that cheese has to offer. The research team found that common bacteria essential to ripening cheese can sense and respond to compounds produced by fungi in the rind and released into the air, enhancing the growth of some species of bacteria over others. The composition of bacteria, yeast and fungi that make up the cheese microbiome is critical to flavor and quality of the cheese, so figuring out how that can be controlled or modified adds science to the art of cheese making.