The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It

The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It

ACS Webinars: Food Chemistry Series

The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It.” A short presentation followed by Q&A with speaker Michael Tunick, Research Chemist with the USDA, and Bill Courtney, Cheese-ology Macaroni & Cheese.

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Humans, like many cartoon mice, love cheese.  From snacks, to toppings & as a staple in recipes, cheese has become a mainstay in kitchens everywhere.  A trip to your local grocers will reveal various types and numerous brands to taste, smell, and enjoy.  But what is the chemistry behind this delectable food?  How does the aging process enhance the texture and flavor?  Join our speaker, Michael Tunick, with the USDA, as he discusses the art and science of cheese making and enjoy a discussion that stimulates your taste buds, tickles your nose, and leaves your mouth watering!


This episode is part of the Food Chemistry Series!


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What You Will Learn

  • The chemistry involved in cheese manufacture
  • Which compounds in cheese form and why
  • Physical chemistry of cheese analysis
  • Differences between cheese varieties
  • And much more…

Webinar Details

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET

Fee: Free


Meet Your Experts

Michael Tunick has been a Research Chemist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service since 1985.  He is in the Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit in Wyndmoor, PA, where he has been investigating the chemistry of dairy products.  He helped develop a low-fat Mozzarella cheese for the National School Lunch Program, devised methods for detecting mislabeled cheese for US Customs, and is currently comparing fatty acids in milk from cows fed on pasture and on grain.  He uses rheological and electron microscopic analyses to examine cheese structure and how it relates to manufacturing parameters and storage conditions.


Bill Courtney is the chef/owner of Cheese-ology Macaroni & Cheese, located in the University City Loop, just west of the city of St. Louis, Missouri.  Following completion of his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Missouri – Columbia, Bill worked a short time as a Q.C. Chemist for ConvaTec.  A shift in interest eventually took Bill to The Genome Institute at Washington University, where he spent 9 years working with the leading genetic and genomic research scientists in the United States. In a radical move, Bill struck out on his own to open Cheese-ology, the culmination of years of a self-described “un-natural obsession” with Macaroni & Cheese. Open since June 2010, Cheese-ology Macaroni & Cheese features over 15 varieties of Macaroni & Cheese to satisfy any Mac & Cheese craving.


The Fine Print

ACS Webinars™ does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.


10 Responses to “The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It”

  1. Carolyn Rulli says:

    This webinar has potential to support high school chemistry teachers. Unfortunately, for many of the teachers, the time of the webinar does not permit viewing since they are in school until at least 4:00 PM est. Have you considered making these more accessible to Teachers?
    Carolyn Rulli

  2. Justin Orlando says:

    Hello Drs. Tunick and Courtney,

    I was wondering if there is any prior reading I should do before the webinar – I am vaguely familiar with the cheese-making process and would like to make sure I’m up to speed on the basics!

    Thank you for this opportunity,

    P.S. Dr. Courtney, as a native of St. Louis, I’ll be sure to check out your restaurant when I go back this summer!!

  3. Suzanne says:

    As a high school teacher, I agree with Carolyn…a shame we can use this great resource!

  4. Michael Tunick says:

    Carolyn: A recording of the webinar, with slides and audio, will be available on June 2 at this site. You’ll be able to play it whenever you want.

  5. Michael Tunick says:

    Justin: I’ll cover the cheesemaking process in the presentation.

  6. Salil Jha says:

    Thanks to Michael Tunick for wonderful seminar. I hope all questions submitted are then published as Q&A for future reference.
    Thanks to Bill Courtney and John Christensen for coordinating and organizing the seminar on “The Chemistry of Cheese and Why We Love It”

  7. madeleine nawar says:

    regret having missed the webinar as I was delyed on the return trip from a morning meeting at NRC in Rockville, MD.

    I’ll tune in on the recorded version and thanks for this opportunity.

  8. Brigitte F. Schmidt says:

    Great seminar! I was watching it with my high school kids. This seminar provides an excellent base to teach some concept of organic chemistry and biochemistry. Kids are much more motivated to learn when a real life application is involved. I am looking forward for more of these kind of seminars.

  9. Alex Korshak says:

    Awesome Video, it was very helpful for my cheese presentation in Chemistry. Thanks!

  10. admin says:

    Great Alex, would you tell us more about how you used the webinar? Please write me back directly at Thanks for sharing. -Tanya Fogg

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