Research – Enterococci from Raw-Milk Cheeses: Current Knowledge on Safety, Technological, and Probiotic Concerns

MDPI

The present study is focused on the safety, technological characteristics, and probiotic evaluation of Enterococcus species from different artisanal raw milk dairy products, mainly cheeses with ripening. Apart from proteolytic and lipolytic activities, most enterococci show the ability to metabolize citrate and convert it to various aromatic compounds. Long-ripened cheeses therefore have a specific flavor that makes them different from cheeses produced from thermally treated milk with commercial starter cultures. In addition, enterococci are producers of bacteriocins effective against spoilage and pathogenic bacteria, so they can be used as food preservatives. However, the use of enterococci in the dairy industry should be approached with caution. Although originating from food, enterococci strains may carry various virulence factors and antibiotic-resistance genes and can have many adverse effects on human health. Still, despite their controversial status, the use of enterococci in the food industry is not strictly regulated since the existence of these so-called desirable and undesirable traits in enterococci is a strain-dependent characteristic. To be specific, the results of many studies showed that there are some enterococci strains that are safe for use as starter cultures or as probiotics since they do not carry virulence factors and antibiotic-resistance genes. These strains even exhibit strong health-promoting effects such as stimulation of the immune response, anti-inflammatory activity, hypocholesterolemic action, and usefulness in prevention/treatment of some diseases. View Full-Text

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