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Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Mar 31;138(1-2):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.12.013. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

Quantification of Penicillium camemberti and P. roqueforti mycelium by real-time PCR to assess their growth dynamics during ripening cheese.

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Université Européenne de Bretagne, France.


Real-time PCR has been applied to quantify mycelium of Penicillium camemberti and Penicillium roqueforti during ripening of model cheese curd and surface mould-ripened cheeses. Total fungal DNA was first validated as an indicator of mycelial biomass in pure liquid culture and then in model curds at different stages of ripening. To imitate cheese matrix effects, DNA was extracted from curd mixed with known amounts of fresh mycelium of P. camemberti or P. roqueforti and was used as biomass standards for further quantitative real-time PCR. Mycelial mass per cheese (mg/g) was then directly obtained from fluorescence data. In model cheese curd, mycelial mass of P. camemberti increased from 2.8 at d4 to 596 mg/g at d11 whereas P. roqueforti increased from 0.3 to 6.3 mg/g during the same period. P. camemberti showed a fast development in Coulommiers from d2 to d9 (66 to 119 mg/g) and a 100-fold increase in Carré (0.85 to 85 mg/g). While mycelial biomass reached a maximum at d9 in Coulommiers, it still developed in Carré until d45. For the first time, cheese manufacturers have a powerful technique to monitor mycelial growth dynamics of their fungal cultures, which represents an important step for controlling cheese making.

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