World's oldest cheese discovered in Egyptian tomb, it comes with a 'killer curse'
Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent
The cheese was discovered in the tomb of Ptahmes who was the mayor of Memphis in Egypt during the 13th century BC.
Peptides found in the sample show that the cheese was contaminated with Brucella melitensis, a bacterium that causes brucellosis. (Photo: Pixabay)
The world's oldest cheese has been found inside an Egyptian tomb, proving that our beloved cheese has been gloriously surviving the test of time for ages.
The tomb of Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis in Egypt during the 13th century BC, was initially unearthed in 1885. After being lost under drifting sand, it was rediscovered in 2010, and archeologists found broken jars at the site a few years later.
However, the 3,200 year-old cheese has a hidden secret, a killer bacteria.
One of the jars contained a solidified whitish mass, as well as canvas fabric that might have covered the jar or been used to preserve its contents. After dissolving the sample, the researchers purified its protein constituents and analyzed them with liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.
The peptides detected by these techniques show the sample was a dairy product made from milk. The characteristics of the canvas fabric, which was suitable for containing a solid rather than a liquid substance, supported the conclusion that the dairy product was a solid cheese.
According to a story published in MailOnline, of the other peptides found in the sample, it was seen that the cheese was contaminated with Brucella melitensis, a bacterium that causes brucellosis.
This potentially deadly disease spreads from animals to people, typically from eating unpasteurised dairy products.
If the team's preliminary analysis is confirmed, the sample would represent the earliest reported biomolecular evidence of the disease.