A rind researcher captures the microscopic residents of cheese
The rind of cheese is home to a fascinating—and beautiful—community of microbes.
Bacteria and fungi growing together make up a microbial ecosystem, and as the microbes grow they contribute to the flavor, smell, and texture of the ripening cheese.
The colonies you see in these images are formed by individual microbes, which were isolated from cheese rinds and grown on petri dishes in the laboratory.
My research is focused on understanding the various ways in which these microbes interact with each other.
Ultimately, I hope to discover what cheese microbes can teach us about the microbial ecosystems found throughout nature.
Photography & text by Rachel Dutton, PhD