Microbiological quality and safety of raw milk and soft cheese and detection of autochthonous lactic acid bacteria with antagonistic activity against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Spp., and Staphylococcus aureus.Foodborne Pathog Dis 2010; 7(2):175-80FP
This study aimed to characterize the microbiological quality and safety of raw milk and soft cheese, verifying possible associations between microbial populations, and the detection of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) with antagonistic activity against foodborne pathogens. Raw milk (n = 36) and soft cheese (n = 18) samples were collected and submitted for the analysis of mesophilic aerobes, total coliforms, Escherichia coli, LAB, coagulase-positive Staphylococcus (CPS), Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella spp. In all, 389 LAB isolates were randomly selected and submitted for antagonistic tests against L. monocytogenes, St. aureus, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Lactobacillus sakei. The samples presented high counts of mesophilic aerobes, total coliforms, and LAB, and also high and significant correlation indices between these populations. Low levels of CPS and E. coli were observed, as well as an absence of Salmonella spp. and L. monocytogenes. A substantial portion of the analyzed samples presented LAB cultures with antagonistic activity, but not against Salmonella Typhimurium. The obtained results indicate the antimicrobial potential of the autochthonous microbiota of raw milk and soft cheese. Despite the spoilage potential, the LAB present in the studied food products can be isolated and properly characterized as antagonistic cultures, to be used in bioconservation studies for pathogen control in foods.