Bye bye brie: your beloved stinky cheeses are at risk of extinction

The world is getting a little less funky. As microbial diversity is wiped out, your favorite stinky cheese may be facing extinction, and, according to the French National Center for Scientific Research, Brie, blue and Camembert are all at risk.

Cheese is made by introducing mold and bacteria into milk, but, as reported by Vox, the demand for uniform taste and texture has led to an over-reliance on single strains. Penicillium camemberti has been the mold of choice for almost a hundred years, and its rivals, unused for decades, have all but disappeared.

Today, all Camembert and brie cheeses worldwide are inoculated with this one genetically identical albino strain of fungi, which is not found in the wild…That means that a brie from a grocery store in France and one from a bodega in New York City have identical (or nearly identical) Penicillium microbes.

But the fungus has now mutated in such a way that it's difficult to reproduce, putting the odorous cheese industry at risk. The loss of diversity is dangerous for any species, especially in our rapidly changing climate. Salvation may lie in going back to nature, reintroducing wild strains of penicillium, leading to more variety, and to each individual cheese standing alone.

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