The number of different types of cheese worldwide exceeds 4000 and dairy fat, composed of about 400 fatty acids (FA), is one of the most complex dietary fats. Cheeses are valuable sources of different bioactive FA, i.e., conjugated FA (CFA). The aim of present study was to determine FA profile of commercially available ripening cheeses, with the special emphasis on CFA profile. Multivariate analyses (cluster analysis (CA), principal component Analysis (PCA), and linear discriminant analysis (LDA)) of chromatographic data have been proposed as an objective approach for evaluation and data interpretation. CA enabled the differentiation of ripening cheeses from fresh cheeses and processed cheeses. PCA allowed to differentiate some types of ripening cheese whereas proposed LDA model, based on 22 analyzed FA, enabled assessing cheeses type with average predictive sensitivities of 86.5%. Results of present study clearly demonstrated that FA and CFA content may not only contribute to overall nutritional characteristics of cheese but also, when coupled with chemometric techniques, may be used as chemical biomarkers for assessing the origin and/or the type of ripening cheeses and the confirmation of their authenticity, which is of utmost importance for consumers.
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