Italian researchers have made a preliminary study to use non-targeted metabolomic profiles to distinguish between PDO and non-PDO Grana Padano cheeses. Using ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (UHPLC/QTOF-MS) followed by chemometrics, a range of chemical metabolites - lipids (fatty acids and their derivatives, phospholipids and monoacylglycerols), amino acids and oligopeptides, together with plant-derived compounds gave the highest discimination potential between the two groups of cheeses. It is postulated that the PDO production specification rules drive the biochemical processes involved in cheese making and ripening process in a distinct manner, thus leaving a defined chemical signature on the final product.

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