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Selected lactic acid bacteria as a hurdle to the microbial spoilage of cheese: Application on a traditional raw ewes’ milk cheese

Luca Settanni a,*, Raimondo Gaglio a, Rosa Guarcello a, Nicola Francesca a, Stefania Carpino b, Ciro Sannino a, Massimo Todaro a

a- Department of Agricultural and Forestry Science, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze 4, 90128 Palermo, Italy
b- CoRFiLaC, Regione Siciliana, S.P. 25 Km 5 Ragusa Mare, 97100 Ragusa, Italy

Abstract

To evaluate the efficacy of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to improve the hygienic safety of a traditional raw milk cheese, the raw ewes’ milk protected denomination of origin (PDO) Pecorino Siciliano cheese was used as a model system. Different Pecorino Siciliano curds and cheeses were used as sources of autochthonous LAB subsequently used as starter and non-starter LAB. These were screened for their acidification capacity and autolysis. Starter LAB showing the best performance were genotypically differentiated and identified: two strains of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis were selected. From the nonstarter LAB, Enterococcus faecalis, Lactococcus garvieae and Streptococcus macedonicus strains were selected. The five cultures were used in individual or dual inocula to produce experimental cheeses in a dairy factory for which production was characterised by high numbers of undesirable bacteria. At 5-month of ripening, the experimental cheeses produced with LAB were characterised by undetectable levels of enterobacteria and pseudomonads and the typical sensory attributes.

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Luca Settanni