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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol. 81 (7), 2015, Pages: 2525-2533

Temporal and Spatial Differences in Microbial Composition during the Manufacture of a Continental-Type Cheese

Daniel J. O'Sullivan, Paul D. Cotter, Orla O'Sullivan, Linda Giblin, Paul L. H. McSweeney and Jeremiah J. Sheehan

Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland.


We sought to determine if the time, within a production day, that a cheese is manufactured has an influence on the microbial community present within that cheese. To facilitate this, 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was used to elucidate the microbial community dynamics of brine-salted continental-type cheese in cheeses produced early and late in the production day. Differences in the microbial composition of the core and rind of the cheese were also investigated. Throughout ripening, it was apparent that cheeses produced late in the day had a more diverse microbial population than their early equivalents. Spatial variation between the cheese core and rind was also noted in that cheese rinds were initially found to have a more diverse microbial population but thereafter the opposite was the case. Interestingly, the genera Thermus, Pseudoalteromonas, and Bifidobacterium, not routinely associated with a continental-type cheese produced from pasteurized milk, were detected. The significance, if any, of the presence of these genera will require further attention. Ultimately, the use of high-throughput sequencing has facilitated a novel and detailed analysis of the temporal and spatial distribution of microbes in this complex cheese system and established that the period during a production cycle at which a cheese is manufactured can influence its microbial composition.


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