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J Dairy Sci. 2011 Jun;94(6):3176-83. doi: 10.3168/jds.2011-4312.

When cheese gets the blues: Pseudomonas fluorescens as the causative agent of cheese spoilage.

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Milk Quality Improvement Program, Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


A bacterial contamination of fresh, low-acid cheese that resulted in production of a blue fluorescent pigment on the surface of the cheese was determined to be caused by Pseudomonas fluorescens biovar IV, a gram-negative bacteria that produces a blue, nondiffusible pigment as well as the soluble pigment pyoverdin, which fluoresces under UV light. Ten isolates collected from contaminated cheese and environmental samples were initially identified as P. fluorescens using 16S rDNA sequencing, but only 8 of the isolates produced blue pigment and fluoresced under UV light when re-inoculated onto fresh, low-acid cheese. The Biolog Metabolic Fingerprint system (Biolog Inc., Hayward, CA) and the Analytical Profile Index (BioMerieux Vitek Inc., Hazelwood, MO) for nonenteric gram-negative species as well as EcoRI ribotyping did not differentiate between the isolates that produced blue color and those that did not. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis with the enzyme XbaI was able to distinguish between the isolates that produced pigment and those that did not and allowed for identification of a specific environmental site (i.e., an overhead cheese vat agitator system) as the likely source of product contamination.

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