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J Dairy Sci. 2002 Mar;85(3):478-86.

Microbial succession of Debaryomyces hansenii strains during the production of Danish surfaced-ripened cheeses.

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The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Department of Dairy and Food Science, Food Microbiology, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Surface-ripened cheeses of the Danbo type were analyzed for the presence of yeasts with special emphasis on Debaryomyces hansenii. Samples were taken from pasteurized milk, brine, and inoculation slurries and from cheese surfaces during ripening at a Danish dairy. D. hansenii was found to be the dominant yeast species throughout the ripening period, whereas other yeast species such as Trichosporon spp., Rhodotorula spp., and Candida spp. were found in minor concentrations during early stages of cheese ripening. Mitochondrial DNA RFLP was used to show that several strains of D. hansenii were present from the onset of ripening. Thereafter, a microbial succession among the strains took place during the ripening. After 3 d of ripening, only one strain was found. This particular strain was found to be dominant in 16 additional batches of surface-ripened cheeses. We investigated the cause of the observed microbial succession by determining the variation in strains with regard to their ability to grow on lactate and at different pH and NaCl concentrations. The strains were shown to vary in their ability to grow on lactate. In a full factorial design at three levels with factor levels close to the actual levels on the cheese surface, differences in pH and NaCl tolerances were observed. The dominant strain was found to be better adapted than other strains to the environmental conditions existing in surface-ripened cheeses during production [e.g., lactate as the main carbon source, pH 5.5 to 6.0 and NaCl concentrations of 7 to 10% (wt/vol)].

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