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J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Sep;101(3):668-81.

Sources of the adventitious microflora of a smear-ripened cheese.

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1
Moorepark Food Research Centre, Teagasc, Fermoy, Ireland.

Abstract

AIMS:

To determine the relationships between the major organisms from the cheese-making personnel and environment and the surface of a smear cheese.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

360 yeast and 593 bacteria from the cheese surface, the dairy environment and the hands and arms of personnel were collected. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, repetitive sequence-based polymerase chain reaction and 16S rDNA sequencing were used for typing and identifying the bacteria, and mitochondrial DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy for typing and identifying the yeast. The three most dominant bacteria were Corynebacterium casei, Corynebacterium variabile and Staphylococcus saprophyticus, which were divided into three, five and seven clusters, respectively, by macrorestriction analysis. The same clones from these organisms were isolated on the cheese surface, the dairy environment and the skin of the cheese personnel. Debaryomyces hansenii was the most dominant yeast.

CONCLUSIONS:

A 'house' microflora exists in the cheese plant. Although the original source of the micro-organisms was not identified, the brines were an important source of S. saprophyticus and D. hansenii and, additionally, the arms and hands of the workers the sources of C. casei and C. variabile.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

This is the first time that the major contribution of the house microflora to the ripening of a smear-ripened cheese has been demonstrated.

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