Autochthonous facility-specific microbiota dominates washed-rind Austrian hard cheese surfaces and its production environment

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Quijada, Narciso
Mann, Evelyne
Wagner, Martin
Rodríguez-Lázaro, David
Hernández, Marta
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Cheese ripening involves the succession of complex microbial communities that are responsible for the organoleptic properties of the final products. The food processing environment can act as a source of natural microbial inoculation, especially in traditionally manufactured products. Austrian Vorarlberger Bergkäse (VB) is an artisanal washed-rind hard cheese produced in the western part of Austria without the addition of external ripening cultures. Here, the composition of the bacterial communities present on VB rinds and on different processing surfaces from two ripening cellars was assessed by near full length 16S rRNA gene amplification, cloning and sequencing. Non-inoculated aerobic bacteria dominated all surfaces in this study. VB production conditions (long ripening time, high salt concentration and low temperatures) favor the growth of psychro- and halotolerant bacteria. Several bacterial groups, such as coryneforms, Staphylococcus equorum and Halomonas dominated VB and were also found on most environmental surfaces. Analysis of OTUs shared between different surfaces suggests that VB rind bacteria are inoculated naturally during the ripening from the processing environment and that cheese surfaces exert selective pressure on these communities, as only those bacteria better adapted flourished on VB rinds. This study analyzed VB processing environment microbiota and its relationship with VB rinds for the first time, elucidating that the processing environment and the cheese microbiota should be considered as microbiologically linked ecosystems with the goal of better defining the events that take place during cheese maturation.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Quijada, Narciso M., Evelyne Mann, Martin Wagner, David Rodríguez-Lázaro, Marta Hernández, and Stephan Schmitz-Esser. "Autochthonous facility-specific microbiota dominates washed-rind Austrian hard cheese surfaces and its production environment." International journal of food microbiology 267 (2018): 54-61. Posted with permission.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018