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Microorganisms play essential roles in the manufacture and ripening of cheese, largely contributing to the development of organoleptic properties by their metabolism and varied enzymatic activities, and to microbiological safety through barrier effects of complex microflora and production of several low-molecular-weight antimicrobial compounds. Although extensive research has been done on bacteriocins of cheese bacteria for controlling pathogens in cheese, until now only few applications have emerged. The control of spoilage yeasts and moulds has been traditionally done by chemical additives, but the application of new antifungal protective cultures is very promising, especially for the cheese industry. It has also been recently shown that naturally established cheese microflora can efficiently prevent the growth of pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms. Cheese is also a very suitable but underused carrier for the delivery of probiotic bacteria, conferring health benefits on the host, with specific advantages compared with fermented milks and yoghurts such as high cell viability. This review addresses the latest developments in applications of protective cultures (with bacteriocin and antifungal activities) or microflora with barrier effects, and probiotic cultures for the production of high quality, safe and “healthy” cheese, as well as emphasizing some of the underlying challenges and possible solutions. Furthermore, new safety criteria for food cultures relating to the presence and transferability of antibiotic resistance genes are discussed.
Dairy Science & Technology – Springer Journals
Published: May 21, 2011
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