Cheese found in an Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old | Science News

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Cheese found in an Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old

The white lump contained signs of a bacteria that causes the infectious disease brucellosis

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8:53am, August 17, 2018
cheese found in Egyptian tomb

SAY CHEESE This lump of 3,200-year-old cheese found in an ancient Egyptian tomb shows signs of having been contaminated with bacteria that cause the disease brucellosis.

What may be the oldest known solid cheese has been found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Made from a mixture of cow milk and either sheep or goat milk, the cheese filled a broken clay jar unearthed from a 13th century B.C. tomb for Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis, researchers report online July 25 in Analytical Chemistry.

Chemist Enrico Greco, who did the work while at the University of Catania in Italy, and colleagues used mass spectrometry to analyze the antique cheese — now a white, soapy lump weighing “several hundred grams.” Besides milk and whey proteins, the cheese contained remnants of bacteria that cause an infection called brucellosis, adding to evidence that ancient Egyptians may have grappled with the disease, Greco says.

Cheese making predates the new find

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