Manufacturing natural cheeses containing bioactive peptides with improved antihypertensive properties

PI: Rodrigo Ibáñez Alfaro


Ibáñez Alfaro is an associate scientist at the Center for Dairy Research. He is focusing on microbiological topics related to cheese and dairy products, along with writing research proposals and supporting research and outreach activities at CDR.

Graduate student: Benjamin Iesalnieks (pictured above) received bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and chemistry from the University of Minnesota–Duluth. His undergraduate research experience and course work developed valuable, transferable, lab and analytical skills that he now applies to areas of food product development, formulation, and production. Iesalnieks is pursuing a master’s degree in food science mentored by Rodrigo Ibáñez Alfaro from the Center for Dairy Research.

Iesalnieks joins Ibáñez Alfaro’s research team to examine the antihypertensive peptide properties in cheese that could be used to lower high blood pressure in humans. The goal is to create a natural cheese with enhanced antihypertensive properties through traditional and alternative approaches. Cheese with the highest antihypertensive properties will be further evaluated to determine if the bioactive compounds are improved, maintained, or degraded after digestion as well as the potential to be absorbed and used by the human body. Once optimal conditions have been established, Wisconsin cheesemakers will be able to manufacture differentiated and enriched value-added products. These new cheeses will enhance human health and nutrition and have the potential to reach new domestic and export markets.

Bradley Bolling