Journal of applied microbiology

Preliminary characterization of wild lactic acid bacteria and their abilities to produce flavour compounds in ripened model cheese system.

PMID 17650203


The aim of this work was to preliminary characterize wild lactic acid bacteria (LAB), previously isolated during artisanal Pecorino Siciliano (PS) cheese-making for technological and flavour formation abilities in a model cheese system. Twelve LAB were studied for the ability to grow at 10 and 45 degrees C, to coagulate and acidify both reconstituted skim milk and ewe's milk. Moreover, the capacity of the strains to generate aroma compounds was evaluated in a model cheese system at 30- and 60-day ripening. Flavour compounds were screened by sensory analysis and throughout gas chromatography (GC)-mass spectrometry (MS). Most of the strains were able to grow both at 10 and 45 degrees C and exhibited high ability to acidify and coagulate ewes' milk. Sensory evaluation revealed that the wild strains produced more significant flavour attributes than commercial strains in the 60-day-old model cheese system. GC-MS data confirmed the results of sensory evaluations and showed the ability of wild lactobacilli to generate key volatile compounds. Particularly, three wild lactobacilli strains, belonging to Lactobacillus casei, Lb. rhamnosus and Lb. plantarum species, generated both in 60- and 30-day-old model cheeses system, the 3-methyl butan(al)(ol) compound, which is associated with fruity taste. The present work preliminarily demonstrated that the technological and flavour formation abilities of the wild strains are strain-specific and that wild lactobacilli, which produced key flavour compounds during ripening, could be used as tailor-made starters. This study reports the technological characterization and flavour formation ability of wild LAB strains isolated from artisanal Pecorino cheese and highlights that the catabolic activities were highly strain dependent. Hence, wild lactobacilli could be selected as tailor-made starter cultures for the PS cheese manufacture.

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