World's oldest cheese found in Egypt

Cheese is great, especially when melted on a pizza. I don't think they had pizza back in ancient Egypt, but apparently, the ancient Pharaohs did have cheese. Researchers have found what they believe to be the oldest cheese in the world inside the tomb of a 13th century BC mayor of Memphis in ancient Egypt. This mayor was called Pthames and his tomb was initially discovered in 1885.

The problem for those researcher's way back then was that the tomb was later lost to the sands of the desert and wasn't rediscovered until 2010. At that time the researchers exploring the tomb found some broken jars inside. One of those broken jars contained a solidified whitish mass inside along with a canvas fabric that could have covered the jar originally.

The scientists wanted to know what the whiteish mass inside the jar might be and began to study it by dissolving the sample. The team purified the protein constituents and analyzed them via liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. That study found peptides that show the sample was a dairy product made from cow milk and sheep or goat mill.

Study of the canvas fabric found that it was suited to storing solids rather than liquids. All the scientific work points to the sample being a solid cheese. The testing also showed that the sample contained a bacterium called Brucella melitensis, this bacterium is a deadly disease that spreads from animals to people.

It's typically the result of eating unpasteurized dairy products. Not only did the team find the world's oldest cheese, but they also found the first reported biomolecular evidence of this disease.