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Commercial Ripening Starter Microorganisms Inoculated into Cheese Milk Do Not Successfully Establish Themselves in the Resident Microbial Ripening Consortia of a South German Red Smear Cheese▿

By Stefanie Goerges, Jérôme Mounier, Mary C. Rea, Roberto Gelsomino, Valeska Heise, Rüdiger Beduhn, Timothy M. Cogan, Marc Vancanneyt and Siegfried Scherer


Production of smear-ripened cheese critically depends on the surface growth of multispecies microbial consortia comprising bacteria and yeasts. These microorganisms often originate from the cheese-making facility and, over many years, have developed into rather stable, dairy-specific associations. While commercial smear starters are frequently used, it is unclear to what degree these are able to establish successfully within the resident microbial consortia. Thus, the fate of the smear starters of a German Limburger cheese subjected to the “old-young” smearing technique was investigated during ripening. The cheese milk was supplemented with a commercial smear starter culture containing Debaryomyces hansenii, Galactomyces geotrichum, Arthrobacter arilaitensis, and Brevibacterium aurantiacum. Additionally, the cheese surface was inoculated with an extremely stable in-house microbial consortium. A total of 1,114 yeast and 1,201 bacterial isolates were identified and differentiated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Furthermore, mitochondrial DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism, random amplified polymorphic DNA, repetitive PCR, and pulsed field gel electrophoresis analyses were used to type selected isolates below the species level. The D. hansenii starter strain was primarily found early in the ripening process. The G. geotrichum starter strain in particular established itself after relocation to a new ripening room. Otherwise, it occurred at low frequencies. The bacterial smear starters could not be reisolated from the cheese surface at all. It is concluded that none of the smear starter strains were able to compete significantly and in a stable fashion against the resident microbial consortia, a result which might have been linked to the method of application. This finding raises the issue of whether addition of starter microorganisms during production of this type of cheese is actually necessary

Topics: Food Microbiology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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