US food giant Kraft Foods has been granted a patent for its "cheese curd made using transglutaminase and a non-rennet protease."

Protected under US patent number 6,242,036, the abstract reads:

    The present invention provides a cheese curd that contains protein products originating from a dairy liquid containing casein and whey protein. In order to obtain the cheese curd, the dairy liquid is acted upon by a transglutaminase and a non-rennet protease, resulting in a substantial proportion of whey protein products being retained in the cheese curd. The invention also discloses a method of making the cheese curd that retains a substantial proportion of whey protein products. This invention further provides a cheese product, such as a soft cheese, a semi-soft cheese, or a hard cheese, that contains protein products originating from a dairy liquid containing casein and whey protein, and a method of making the cheese product.

The first claim (of ten) is for:

    A cheese curd comprising protein products originating from a dairy liquid comprising casein and whey protein, wherein the curd is obtained from the dairy liquid by a process that comprises the sequential steps of:

    (i) heating the dairy liquid to a temperature of about 55 to about 90.degree. C. for at least about 2 minutes;

    (ii) cooling the heat treated dairy liquid to a temperature of about 30 to about 65.degree. C.;

    (iii) contacting the cooled dairy liquid with a transglutaminase to provide a modified dairy liquid;

    (iv) contacting the modified dairy liquid with a non-rennet protease to form cheese curd and whey liquid; and

    (v) separating the cheese curd from the whey liquid.

To see full details of the patent, please click here.