Passing tick

Passing tick

Here is a fragment of the famous French cheese enlarged under a microscope. fleet (in French mimolette ), brought in late February from Paris (yes, then it was still possible). The tick was not the only one in this piece, and it was by no means accidental in the cheese: during the manufacturing process, such cheese is specially populated with ticks.

Flour mite in cheese passing. Video © Ilya Kelmanson

Ticks, which are used in the production of cheese passing, belong to the species Acarus siro (3-3-334. Flour mite 3-3-33414.) 3-3-33419. . [/i] Synonyms of this name are also found in the old literature: Tyroglyphus farinae and Aleurobius farinae ( Farina Means “flour, powder”, hence the Russian name). Flour mite is not some exotic representative of arthropod 3-3-33414. and not the mysterious inhabitant of the caves, but the most ordinary synanthropic view. He lives in food supplies (such as flour, grain, fruits and cheeses) and in house dust, and in nature is found in nests of birds and mammals. Acarus siro 3-3-3357 have been described. Carl Linnaeus and from him got his valid Latin name , which means "barn tick." However, references to this species in studies on house dust mites are often based on erroneous definitions. Under the name Acarus siro three close species ( Acarus siro , A. farris and A. immobilis ) adapted to different conditions may hide, and not one single species, cosmopolitan . Acarus siro first of all, it is an inhabitant of premises and closed storages, and two other species live mainly in nature, including in caves, in fields with vegetables and in open granaries, however, all three species can be found together.

Passing tick

Flour mite (3-3-33419. Acarus siro 3-3-33420.) On cheese passing. Photo © Ilya Kelmanson

Before talking about how ticks appear in cheese, it is worth explaining who ticks are (what arthropods are called ticks). Many readers probably recall ticks closer to the beginning of summer, when 3-3-399 activity increases. ixodid ticks (family Ixodidae) and the risk of contracting diseases increases, the pathogens of which they carry (mainly 3-3-33101. tick-borne encephalitis 3-3-33414. and 3-3-3103. Lyme disease 3-3-33414.). Ticks are traditionally perceived as a single group of 3-3-3105. arachnids . However, it is possible that everyone knows the ixodid ticks and our flour mite - [/i] namesakes rather than close relatives. The debate does not cease whether all ticks originate from one ancestral species unique to them or the life form of miniature arachnids (which we call ticks) arose twice in evolutionary history and includes at least two independent lines: acariform ticks (Acariformes) and parasitiform ticks (Parasitiformes). The first to put forward this hypothesis was 3-3-3113 in the middle of the last century. Alexey Alekseevich Zakhvatkin . Acarus siro - acariform tick and belongs to the family 3-3-3117. Acaridae cohorts 3-3-3119. Astigmata (i.e. devoid of breathing holes).

Passing tick

Position 3-3-33419. Acarus siro and other ticks mentioned in the text in the system (not all taxonomic levels are indicated). The drawing is made according to the classification of Lindquist and O'Connor, given in the book Manual of Acarology

Astigmatic ticks have an interesting life cycle feature. These mites, like almost all arthropods, molt several times during life. A larva hatches from an egg, then it sheds one or several times, passing through stage nymphs , and the nymph of the last age molts and becomes an adult. In many astigmatic ticks, a second-age nymph becomes resettled and is called hypopus (3-3-3149. Hypopus 3-3-33414.). Hypopuses are highly resistant to adverse environmental conditions, usually do not feed, can not fade for a long time and allow ticks to spread over considerable distances. They travel on insects and other animals (including mammals), attaching to them with the help of special suction cups or lobes. Sometimes (optional), hypopuses are also formed in the flour mite.

But back to the cheese fleeting. They make this cheese not in Paris (where it is not difficult to buy it, as one of the authors had a chance to verify recently), but mainly on the northern outskirts of France, near the border with Belgium. In France, this cheese is also called boule de lille , that is, the “Lille ball”, in honor of the city Lille , in the vicinity of which it is produced (although it is made in some other areas in the north of France and in its western part). The name "fleeting" occurs from the French mi-mou (feminine 3-3-33419. mi-molle 3-3-33420.) "semi-soft" and the suffix 3-3-33419. -et (te) [/i] or from the French mollet (feminine 3-3-33419. mollette 3-3-33420.) "soft, delicate" and prefixes 3-3-33419. mi- [/i] "Semi-". “Semi-soft” is a property of young cheese, and a mature (seasoned) passing may be quite hard. By the way, it was a favorite cheese Charles de Gaulle who was born just in Lille.

Passing tick

City Lille on the map of France. Image from

Prepare a fleeting of cow's milk. To give a red color, reminiscent of the color of the pulp of melons of the variety cantaloupe , once carrot juice was added to it, and now they use dye obtained from the seeds of shrub annatto ( Bixa orellana ). First fleeting ripens on wooden shelves in a special basement or man-made cave. Then the cheese is placed on mesh shelves in a separate room where ticks live, or they are applied to the surface of the cheese with a brush. The whole process of ripening cheese takes from several weeks to two years. While the cheese is ripening, ticks bite into its crust and make microscopic holes in it, thanks to which the cheese gets the opportunity to "breathe". In this case, the cheese is periodically turned over, tapped with a special wooden hammer and cleaned off excess ticks. But it is the products of their livelihoods (excretion of glands, excrement and covers that were shed during shedding) that add unique notes to the taste and aroma of this cheese.

Passing tick

Cheese fleeting. Ticks live mainly in a gray-coated crust, but the substances secreted by them infiltrate the entire cheese. Photo © Petr Petrov

Before sending cheese to the counter, ticks are removed from it, but some of them still remain, which is easy to verify by examining a piece of cheese under a microscope. In 2013 too high numbers of ticks on cheese even served as the basis for 3-3-33217. ban on its import into the United States, but then, to the delight of gourmets, the fleet was again allowed.

Passing tick

A poster with a portrait of General de Gaulle of the campaign to lift the ban on cheese passing. Image from pages Facebook campaigns

Ticks are used in the manufacture of some other varieties of cheese, for example, a mature variety of cheese cantal (cantal vieux), produced in central France. But, probably, the most famous of these cheeses is Wurwitz 3-3r3419. milbenkese [/i] (Wurchwitzer Milbenkase - literally "tick-cheese") . In 2004 he even traveled (with ticks) at International Space Station . Now it is produced only in the village of Wurchwitz in the east of Germany, although once made in other places near her. There is a monument to the cheese tick Tyrolichus casei , [/i] which helps to get this delicacy.

Passing tick

Monument to cheese mite ( Tyrolichus casei ) In the village of Wurchwitz in eastern Germany. Photo © Wolf-Henry Dreblow from

Milbenkeze is prepared from dried sheep cottage cheese, where salt, caraway seeds and some herbs are added. Young cheese is kept in wooden crates where ticks inhabit it. Mites always live in these boxes, and cheese makers feed them with rye flour so that they do not encroach on the cheese too much, and only their metabolic products help cheese fermentation. A few months later, when the cheese ripens, it is eaten - together with live ticks (per 1 cm 3-3-33287. 2 3-3-33288. The surface of the cheese has about 2000 ticks!).

Connoisseurs note that tick-borne cheeses have a nutty or fruity (lemon) aroma. This fragrance is inherent in both the French fleeting and the German milbenkese. If the cheese ripens without ticks, such an aroma does not occur. The fact is that astigmatic mites have a pair of lateral (lateral) glands that secrete various substances, including 3-3-33291. pheromones for example, pheromone anxiety. The secret of these glands is also in Acarus siro, and Tyrolichus casei in large quantities (20%) contains neral - stereoisomer citral (see. .

Passing tick

Astigmatic tick, marked lateral gland. Photo from the site

In France and Germany, there are about a dozen species of ticks (from the genera 3-3-33419. 3-33332. Acarus 3-3-33414. 3-3-33420., 3-3-33419. 3-3-33336. Tyrophagus 3-3-33414. 3-3-33420. And 3-3-3343. live on cheeses. At the same time, ticks feed not only on cheese, but also on the mushrooms that grow on it. Thus, species of the genus 3-3-33419. Tyrophagus they feed on mushrooms on the surface of blue cheeses with mold, moreover, species Tyrophagus putrescentiae the compounds produced by the fungus are strongly attracted. Trichothecium roseum . Ticks can not only eat the mushrooms used in cheese making, but also benefit them. First, ticks can spread fungal spores. Secondly, biting into the cheese crust, they create microscopic pores in it, into which oxygen almost does not penetrate, where 3-3-33355 can live. anaerobic mushrooms.

But usually ticks are unwanted guests on cheese. On cheeses populated by ticks, a special gray coating forms, which consists of excrement, corpses and discarded integument of ticks, as well as living ticks, their eggs and gnawed pieces of cheese. For “tick-borne” cheeses such a coating is necessary, but the vast majority of cheeses it spoils and thereby harms cheese-makers. This is also why many cheeses are waxed or wrapped in cloth before aging. There are other methods of combating cheese mites, for example, ozonation and other methods of disinfection of rooms, regulation of humidity and temperature.

However, astigmatic mites (including 3-3-33419. Acarus siro 3-3-33420.), Living in food supplies and house dust, annoy not only cheese makers. Mite vital products can cause household and occupational allergies in people (see 3-3-33363. Tick-borne sensitization 3-3-33414.), For example, chronic lung diseases in farmers (3-3-33365. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis 3-3-33414., 3-3-33367. Cheesemaker's lungs 4). in some people, including eating cheeses with ticks).

It is worth noting that in the production of cheeses, not only bacteria, fungi and ticks are used, but also at least one type of insect. Some varieties of cheese produced in Egypt Mish and manufactured on Sardinia , in northern Italy and at Corsica cheese Kasu Marzu (casu marzu) obtained using larvae. cheese flies ([i] Piophila casei ), Which ferment it, and their secretions give the cheese a distinctive pungent taste. They eat such cheese with live larvae.

Passing tick

Cheese flies ( Piophila casei ) On cheese. Photo © Susan Ellis from

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the benefits of ticks for the taste of cheese and the harm that they can bring to cheese makers and cheese lovers. In small amounts, ticks can be found in certain species of 3-3-3405. Cheddar 3-3-33414. , in spanish blue cheese Cabrales (cabrales) and in some other rare varieties of cheese. Cheesemakers in Brazil recently launched experiment with "tick-cheeses", although some of these cheeses are sent by Brazilians to mature in the cellars of France. Maybe in the foreseeable future and in Russia, someone will learn how to make cheese with ticks. We will be very happy. And also, of course, I would like European cheeses to appear on our market again.

Photo (or rather, still frame of video recording) © Ilya Kelmanson, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry named after Academicians M.M. Shemyakin and Yu.A. Ovchinnikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (3-3-33413. IBCh RAS 3-3-33414.), Moscow, March 2020.

Anastasia Antonovskaya , Petr Petrov

22 май 2020 /
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