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Ethnobotanical study of wild plants used in the Algerian traditional cheese-making of Kemariya in the M’Zab Valley (Algeria)

Research Paper | January 1, 2021

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Maroua Kheloufi, Mira Meddah, Nadjette Djemouai, Alia Telli

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Int. J. Biosci.18( 1), 185-198, January 2021

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/18.1.185-198


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The traditional cheese known by Kemariya occupies a very important socio-economic place in the M’Zab Valley. It is considered as one of the popular traditional cheese in the region that is coagulated by animal rennet as well as by some plant species. In order to determine and catalog the plant species used in the coagulation of milk, an ethnobotanical survey was carried out with the local population of Ghardaïa province (Algeria). This study was conducted using semi-structured questionnaires that were distributed to 100 people of two ethnics (57 Arab and 43 Mozabites). Among them, 10 informants were herbalists. The obtained results showed that nine plant species are well known and used for Kemariya preparation among them C. cardunculus. and F. glutinosa are the most cited. In addition, the harvest of C. cardunculus and F. glutinosa is done in spring during the flowering period (48% and 59% of responses, respectively). The used part for C. cardunculus was flowers (100% of responses), while for F. glutinosa were seeds (44.4%) and leaves (33.3%). C. cardunculus and F. glutinosa can be used either in the fresh or dry state. Goat milk was the most used milk by the local population for Kemariya production. These results highlight the importance of the use of the Algerian flora in cheese production. Further studies are required to preserve the Algerian culinary heritage and to identify the active ingredients of these plant species for the production of plant coagulants substituting the rennet in cheese fabrication.


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Ethnobotanical study of wild plants used in the Algerian traditional cheese-making of Kemariya in the M’Zab Valley (Algeria)

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