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Microbial activation of wooden vats used for traditional cheese production and evolution of the neoformed biofilms

  • Autori: Gaglio, R; Cruciata, M; Di Gerlando, R; Scatassa, ML; Cardamone, C; Mancuso, I; Sardina, MT; Moschetti, G; Portolano, B; Settanni, L
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Three Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris strains were used to develop ad hoc biofilms on the surfaces of virgin wooden vats used for cheese production. Two vats (TZ) were tested under controlled conditions (pilot plant), and two vats (TA) were tested under uncontrolled conditions (industrial plant). In each plant, one vat (TA1 and TZ1) was used for the control, traditional production of PDO Vastedda della Valle del Belìce (Vastedda) cheese, and one (TA2 and TZ2) was used for experimental production performed after lactococcal biofilm activation and the daily addition of a natural whey starter culture (NWSC). Microbiological and scanning electron microscopy analyses showed differences in terms of microbial levels and composition of the neoformed biofilms. The levels of the microbial groups investigated during cheese production showed significant differences between the control trials and between the control and experimental trials, but the differences were not particularly marked between the TA2 and TZ2 productions, which showed the largest numbers of mesophilic lactic acid bacterium (LAB) cocci. LAB populations were characterized phenotypically and genotypically, and 44 dominant strains belonging to 10 species were identified. Direct comparison of the polymorphic profiles of the LAB collected during cheese making showed that the addition of the NWSC reduced their biodiversity. Sensory evaluation showed that the microbial activation of the wooden vats with the multistrain Lactococcus culture generated cheeses with sensory attributes comparable to those of commercial cheese. Thus, neoformed biofilms enable a reduction of microbial variability and stabilize the sensorial attributes of Vastedda cheese.