Temporal stability and biodiversity of two complex antilisterial cheese-ripening microbial consortia

Ariel Maoz, Ralf Mayr, Siegfried Scherer

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The temporal stability and diversity of bacterial species composition as well as the antilisterial potential of two different, complex, and undefined microbial consortia from red-smear soft cheeses were investigated. Samples were collected twice, at 6-month intervals, from each of two food producers, and a total of 400 bacterial isolates were identified by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and 16S ribosomal DNA sequence analysis. Coryneform bacteria represented the majority of the isolates, with certain species being predominant. In addition, Marinolactobacillus psychrotolerans, Halomonas venusta, Halomonas variabilis, Halomonas sp. (106 to 107 CFU per g of smear), and an unknown, gram-positive bacterium (107 to 108 CFU per g of smear) are described for the first time in such a consortium. The species composition of one consortium was quite stable over 6 months, but the other consortium revealed less diversity of coryneform species as well as less stability. While the first consortium had a stable, extraordinarily high antilisterial potential in situ, the antilisterial activity of the second consortium was lower and decreased with time. The cause for the antilisterial activity of the two consortia remained unknown but is not due to the secretion of soluble, inhibitory substances by the individual components of the consortium. Our data indicate that the stability over time and a potential antilisterial activity are individual characteristics of the ripening consortia which can be monitored and used for safe food production without artificial preservatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4012-4018
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2003


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