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Food Microbiol. 2015 Apr;46:81-91. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Jul 19.

The influence of the wooden equipment employed for cheese manufacture on the characteristics of a traditional stretched cheese during ripening.

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Dipartimento Scienze Agrarie e Forestali, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze 4, 90128, Palermo, Italy.
Istituto di Biofisica (IBF) CNR, Via U. La Malfa 153, 90146, Palermo, Italy.
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia "A. Mirri", Via G. Marinuzzi 4, Palermo, Italy.
Dipartimento Scienze Agrarie e Forestali, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze 4, 90128, Palermo, Italy. Electronic address:


The influence of the wooden equipment used for the traditional cheese manufacturing from raw milk was evaluated on the variations of chemico-physical characteristics and microbial populations during the ripening of Caciocavallo Palermitano cheese. Milk from two farms (A, extensive; B, intensive) was processed in traditional and standard conditions. Chemical and physical traits of cheeses were affected by the farming system and the cheese making technology, and changed during ripening. Content in NaCl and N soluble was lower, and paste consistency higher in cheese from the extensive farm and traditional technology, whereas ripening increased the N soluble and the paste yellow and consistency. The ripening time decreased the number of all lactic acid bacteria (LAB) groups, except enterococci detected at approximately constant levels (10(4) and 10(5) cfu g(-1) for standard and traditional cheeses, respectively), till 120 d of ripening. In all productions, at each ripening time, the levels detected for enterococci were lower than those for the other LAB groups. The canonical discriminant analysis of chemical, physical and microbiological data was able to separate cheeses from different productions and ripening time. The dominant LAB were isolated, phenotypically characterised and grouped, genetically differentiated at strain level and identified. Ten species of LAB were found and the strains detected at the highest levels were Pediococcus acidilactici and Lactobacillus casei. Ten strains, mainly belonging to Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus fermentum showed an antibacterial activity. The comparison of the polymorphic profiles of the LAB strains isolated from the wooden vat with those of the strains collected during maturation, showed the persistence of three enterococci in traditional cheeses, with Enterococcus faecalis found at dominant levels over the Enterococcus population till 120 d; the absence of these strains in the standard productions evidenced the contribution of vat LAB during Caciocavallo Palermitano cheese ripening.


Enterococcus; Lactic acid bacteria biodiversity; Ripening; Wooden dairy plant equipment; “Pasta filata” cheese

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