Life cycle assessment of minas frescal cheese and cured minas cheese: a comparative analysis


Abstract Brazil is a large producer of dairy products, with an important role of milk in the country's economy beyond the nutritional aspects. In turn, the dairy industry is associated with environmental impacts, such as water and energy consumption, waste generation, liquid effluents, and atmospheric emissions. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an environmental management tool used to measure the environmental impacts of goods, services, and products. This study used the LCA to assess the impacts resulting from the production of Minas Frescal and cured Minas cheese in an artisanal production facility in Casimiro de Abreu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. LCA results showed that the most significant environmental impacts were associated with the dairy farm under study, which is a source of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from livestock, particularly methane (CH4), produced through enteric fermentation and manure decomposition, mainly contributing for the impact categories of climate change (31.56%) and human toxicity with carcinogenic effects (35.46%). The cured Minas cheese presented higher impacts when compared to Minas Frescal cheese due to the larger volume of milk used in the manufacturing process. Thus, the present study suggested mitigation measures to lower the environmental impacts based on adjustments in animal feed to reduce atmospheric emissions.



Life Cycle Assessment, Minas Frescal cheese, cured Minas cheese, environmental impacts