Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 August 2018
The aim of this study was to identify the main Enterobacteriaceae species responsible for early gas blowing during curdling and the first week of ripening in raw goats’ milk cheese. Two batches of raw goats’ milk cheese were selected. One of them showed early blowing within the first 24 h of cheese ripening while the other showed no alteration. Although initial levels of Enterobacteriaceae were similar in defective and non-defective cheese, their dynamics (growth and disappearance rates of the species detected) were different. Klebsiella oxytoca and Enterobacter cloacae were the main species in the defective curd, whereas Buttiauxela spp. was predominant in normal curd. Hafnia alvei was the prevailing isolated species for both normal and defective cheese throughout the ripening process. The highest gas production was rendered by K. oxytoca and H. alvei, mainly isolated from curd and cheese. However, other species relevant in milk or curd, like Pantoea ssp. or Buttiauxela spp. were considered as low gas producers. The analysis of digitalized images of cheese showed that most of the cheese eyes were formed before the first week of ripening, although this process continued during maturation.
According to the species found in the defective and non-defective cheese, their proportions at different ripening stages, their ability to produce gas and eye formation, K. oxytoca might be considered the most likely responsible for early blowing in raw goats’ milk cheeses; while H. alvei increased the eyes number in the later stages of the ripening period.