Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen frequently found in dairy products, and its growth is difficult to control. Bacteriocinlike inhibitory substances (BLIS), produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB), having proven in vitro anti-Listeria activity, could provide an innovative approach to control L. monocytogenes; however, this application needs to be evaluated in vivo. In this study, twenty LAB strains isolated from different Sicilian dairy environments were tested for control of growth of L. monocytogenes in three different experimental trials. First, raw and UHT milk were inoculated with LAB strains alone, and LAB strains mixed with L. monocytogenes. Second, mini-cheeses containing LAB and/or L. monocytogenes were produced. Third, two traditional Sicilian cheeses inoculated with a multi-strain LAB mixture combined with L. monocytogenes were produced. The addition of BLIS produced by LAB to milk and in mini-cheese production was unable to inhibit the growth of L. monocytogenes. However, an anti-Listeria effect was observed in the Pecorino Siciliano cheeses, where, after 15 days of ripening, the cheeses with added LAB had fewer L. monocytogenes compared to the control cheeses with no added LAB, while in the Vastedda della valle del Belìce cheeses, the multi-strain LAB mixture completely prevented the growth of L. monocytogenes.
BLIS; Milk; In vivo applications; Listeria monocytogenes; Traditional Sicilian cheeses