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PCR-DGGE As A Tool For Characterizing Dominant Microbial Populations In The Spanish Blue-veined Cabrales Cheese

A. Flórez, B. Mayo
Published 2006 · Biology

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The microbial populations of cheese milk and rennet extracts used in the production of traditional, Spanish, blue-veined Cabrales cheese were identified by PCR–DGGE analysis of the V3 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and of the D1 region of the eukaryotic 26S rRNA genes. Ripe cheeses (60 days old) were examined in the same way. The results obtained by this culture-independent technique were compared to others previously obtained by conventional culturing methods. Rennet extracts were dominated by a number of Lactobacillus species, including Lb. plantarum, a non-starter lactic acid bacterium dominant during ripening. Lactococcus lactis was only found in one rennet extract. The cheese milk was clearly dominated by Lactococcus-like bacteria, with Lc. lactis in the greatest number. This bacterium was also dominant in the cheese samples (on both the surface and in the interior), in agreement with results obtained by culturing. The sequences of several bacterial DGGE bands from all samples showed less than 97% homology to known, cultured species. This indicates that unknown species are present in the Cabrales cheese environment and that culture-independent methods are needed to fully characterize this ecosystem.
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