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J Dairy Sci. 2004 Oct;87(10):3189-97.

Does smearing inoculum reflect the bacterial composition of the smear at the end of the ripening of a French soft, red-smear cheese?

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Laboratoire de Génie et Microbiologie des Procédés Alimentaires, INRA, Thiverval-Grignon, France.


The microbial community composition and dynamics during the production of a French soft, red-smear cheese were investigated. The colonization efficiency of the smearing inoculum was followed, and the parts played by the inoculum used and the resident microflora were tentatively estimated. Single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis (SSCP) was applied to 2 productions of a soft, red-smear cheese produced by the same dairy plant at 4-mo intervals. Microbial composition of the different cheese samples analyzed was found to be reproducible from one production to another. However, the composition of the surface flora of both cheeses at the end of the ripening did not reflect the composition of the smearing inoculum used, qualitatively as well as quantitatively. These results were confirmed by those obtained when assessing the microbial composition of the culturable flora by the spread plate technique. The inoculum used by the industry had low resiliency potentialities against colonization of cheeses by resident organisms. Therefore, fitness and colonization potential of smearing inocula should be carefully assessed by the industry before use. The use of Arthrobacter strains as part of the smearing inoculum should be evaluated.

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