Use of commercial protective cultures in portioned sheep milk cheeses to control Listeria monocytogenes

Submitted: 28 March 2022
Accepted: 29 October 2022
Published: 8 March 2023
Abstract Views: 1516
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The main objective of this study was to innovate soft and semi-cooked sheep milk cheese production processes with the use of a commercial protective culture able to control Listeria monocytogenes growth. A freeze-dried commercial culture of Lactobacillus plantarum was tested in DS cheese and PS cheese, two types of pasteurized sheep milk, raw-paste cheeses aged for no less than 20 and 30 days respectively. In the first step, in vitro tests were conducted to identify the most suitable matrix for the growth of L. plantarum in order to create a subculture that could be used at industrial cheese-making plants. During the second phase of the study, L. plantarum culture was introduced in the manufacturing process of the cheeses in a production plant. Finally, a challenge test was conducted on portioned DS and PS cheeses in order to evaluate the activity of the protective culture against L. monocytogenes: the cheeses were portioned, experimentally contaminated with L. monocytogenes strains, vacuum packed and stored at +4°C (correct storage conditions) and at +10°C (thermal abuse). Cheeses were analysed at the end of the shelf-life to evaluate the presence and growth of L. monocytogenes, to enumerate lactic acid bacteria and determine chemical-physical features. The results confirmed that protective cultures are a useful technological innovation to control L. monocytogenes growth during cheese storage without altering composition, microflora and chemical-physical characteristics of the product. However, the use of protective cultures should be applied as an integration of risk control measures and not as a substitute for preventive actions.



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Supporting Agencies

FAR 2019 Scarano

How to Cite

Sanna R, Piras F, Siddi G, Meloni MP, Demontis M, Spanu V, Nieddu G, Cuccu M, De Santis EPL, Scarano C. Use of commercial protective cultures in portioned sheep milk cheeses to control <em>Listeria monocytogenes</em>. Ital J Food Safety [Internet]. 2023 Mar. 8 [cited 2024 Jul. 13];12(1). Available from: