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Newsletter – July 2012

Our July newsletter features some of the latest resources published on the Hub.

Cheesemaking is the latest focus story on the Hub. We’ve also added some new resources to our Biotech at home theme, and we have a brand new home page! You can now access our focus stories and themes by clicking on either the revolving images or the navigation bar at the top.


This focus story explores the science and the art of cheesemaking and the development of this ancient biotechnology into a modern industry.

The science of cheese – Information sheet
Cheesemaking is the controlled process of removing water from milk. This process concentrates the milk’s protein, fat and other nutrients and increases its shelf life. Cheesemaking is one of the earliest examples of biotechnology.

Creating different cheese characteristics – Information sheet
Cheese comes in numerous varieties of different styles, textures and flavours, but it’s all made from the same basic ingredient – milk. So what are the differences and how are they created?

Cheese – a molecular view – Animation
View the molecular structure of milk and learn how the structure changes throughout the cheesemaking process.

From milk to cheese – Interactive
Learn about the processes involved at each stage of making traditional Gouda cheese. Follow the process through with the cheesemaker, from the milking shed to the open cheese vat to the finished rounds of Gouda cheese in the curing room.

Identifying cheese characteristics – Student activity
In this activity, students investigate a range of cheeses to identify their characteristics and determine how these different characteristics are created.

Biotech at home

Fruit enzyme uses – Information sheet
Enzymes extracted from fruits like papaya, pineapple, kiwifruit, fig and mango have uses as medicines, food-processing agents and dietary supplements.

Fruit enzymes tenderise meat – Information sheet
Raw fruits can be used to tenderise meat before cooking because they contain enzymes that break down proteins.

A comparison of home-made marinades – Experiment
In this experiment, students measure and compare the protein-digesting activity of five fruits or vegetables commonly used in marinades. This would suit years 9–12 and needs to be left overnight.

News and events

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts.

Hunting for honey’s healing powers – News item
Scientists from New Zealand have recently identified key compounds in honey that stimulate the immune system, paving the way for a range of new wound-healing products.

Promising clinical trial for bone health product – News item
Christchurch-based biotechnology company PharmaZen has reported that on-going clinical trials for its bone health product range, which started in 2011 and will conclude in the second half of 2012, have returned encouraging interim results.

Nature’s catalysts – RNZ audio
Exploring the function of enzymes and how they might be used to fight microscopic pathogens is the focus of a team of researchers at the University of Canterbury.

Bioluminescence and super bugs – RNZ audio
Glow in the dark bacteria are a novel rapid screening technique for finding new drugs to combat superbugs.

Comvita science video challenge - Event
This is a fun way for year 9 and 10 students to learn and communicate science by making a short video about healthy food ingredients.

More news and events

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom or if you’re interested in helping us develop new resources. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

Best wishes
The Biotechnology Learning Hub team


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