Artisanal and experimental Pecorino Siciliano cheese: Microbial dynamics during manufacture assessed by culturing and PCR-DGGE analyses

C.L. Randazzo, E.E. Vaughan, C. Caggia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional artisanal Pecorino Siciliano (PS) cheeses, and two experimental PS cheeses were manufactured using either raw or pasteurised ewes' milk with the addition of starter cultures. The bacterial diversity and dynamics of the different cheese types were evaluated both by culturing and characterisation of isolates, and a culture-independent approach based on the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene. Following cultivation, artisanal and experimental cheese types showed similar microbial counts, and isolates belonging to Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Enterococcus faecalis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides were identified by phenotypic characterisation and comparison of the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the 16S rRNA gene to that of reference species. The culture-independent fingerprinting technique PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of V6 to V8 regions of the 16S rRNA gene of samples taken during artisanal PS cheese manufacture, from raw milk to the ripened cheese, indicated relevant shifts in the microbial community structure. The dominance of Streptococcus bovis and Lactococcus lactis species in the traditional artisanal PS was revealed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Comparison of DGGE profiles of samples from milk to ripened cheese, derived from artisanal procedure and the two experimental PS cheeses during production showed similar trends with the presence of intense bands in common. Nevertheless, the profiles of several artisanal cheeses from different farms appeared more diverse, and these additional species are probably responsible for the generally superior flavour and aroma development of traditional PS cheese.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • 16s ribosomal-rna
  • san-simon cheese
  • raw-milk
  • registered designation
  • dairy-products
  • identification
  • fermentations
  • communities
  • enterococci

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