Research – Lactic Starter Dose Shapes S. aureus and STEC O26:H11 Growth, and Bacterial Community Patterns in Raw Milk Uncooked Pressed Cheeses


Adding massive amounts of lactic starters to raw milk to manage the sanitary risk in the cheese-making process could be detrimental to microbial diversity. Adjusting the amount of the lactic starter used could be a key to manage these adverse impacts. In uncooked pressed cheeses, we investigated the impacts of varying the doses of a lactic starter (the recommended one, 1×, a 0.1× lower and a 2× higher) on acidification, growth of Staphylococcus aureus SA15 and Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O26:H11 F43368, as well as on the bacterial community patterns. We observed a delayed acidification and an increase in the levels of pathogens with the 0.1× dose. This dose was associated with increased richness and evenness of cheese bacterial community and higher relative abundance of potential opportunistic bacteria or desirable species involved in cheese production. No effect of the increased lactic starter dose was observed. Given that sanitary criteria were paramount to our study, the increase in the pathogen levels observed at the 0.1× dose justified proscribing such a reduction in the tested cheese-making process. Despite this, the effects of adjusting the lactic starter dose on the balance of microbial populations of potential interest for cheese production deserve an in-depth evaluation. View Full-Text

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