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Yeasts in factory brine of feta cheese

Authors: S.E. Kaminarides and N.S. Laskos


Eighteen brine samples from six large Greek feta cheese factories were examined. Three samples were taken from each factory at different periods of the year. The examination involved study of the yeast flora of feta cheese brine and also the total bacterial count, the pyschotrophic bacteria count, pH and the brine NaCl concentration. The results showed yeasts were present in all brine samples tested with numbers ranging from 5.5x102 to 3.4x106/mL of brine. One hundred and eighty different yeast colonies were isolated and identified, with the most common species found to be Saccharomyces cerevisiae (36%), Saccharomyces cerevisiae (italicus) (23%), Candida famata (17%) and Pichia membranaefaciens (12%). The last two yeasts tolerated high brine NaCl concentrations. The yeasts Candida sphaerica, Torulaspora delbrueckii, Candida colliculosa, Candida robusta, Saccharomyces exiquus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (chevalieri) and Candida tropicalis were also found. The total bacterial counts in most samples were high (104-108/mL of brine) and the mean values of psychrotrophic bacteria and moulds were 104/mL of brine and 102/mL of brine respectively. The mean pH of brine was 4.6 and NaCl concentration 3.5% w/v.

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