Biocontrol of psychrotrophic enterotoxigenic Bacillus cereus in a nonfat hard cheese by an enterococcal strain-producing enterocin AS-48

J Food Prot. 2004 Jul;67(7):1517-21. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-67.7.1517.


Bacillus cereus is a food poisoning bacterium of great concern, especially in milk products. In this study, we describe the efficient control of the psychrotrophic and toxigenic strain B. cereus LWL1 in milk and in a nonfat hard cow's cheese by the enterocin AS-48 producer strain Enterococcus faecalis A-48-32 (Bac+). No viable B. cereus cells were detected after 72 h incubation in milk coinoculated with the AS-48-producing strain and B. cereus. Diarrheic toxin production was also markedly inhibited by the Bac+ strain to eightfold lower levels compared with control cultures of B. cereus. In cheeses manufactured by inoculation with a commercial starter (about 6.8 log CFU/ml) and B. cereus (about 4 log CFU/ml), the latter reached 6.27 log CFU/g after 5 days of maturation, and approximately 8 log CFU/g after 15 days. However, in cheeses made from milk inoculated with the starter along with a mixture of E. faecalis-B. cereus (2/1 ratio), counts of B. cereus decreased by approximately 1.0, 2.0, 4.32, and 5.6 log units with respect to control cheeses after 5, 10, 15, and 30 days of ripening, respectively. Growth of E. faecalis A-48-32 was associated with enterocin AS-48 production and persistence in cheese. Interestingly, growth of starter cultures was not affected by the Bac+ strain, and neither was lactic acid production. These results clearly indicate that E. faecalis A-48-32 produced satisfactory amounts of bacteriocin in cheese and support the potential use of AS-48-producing strains as culture adjuncts to inhibit B. cereus during cheese manufacture and ripening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacillus cereus / drug effects*
  • Bacillus cereus / growth & development
  • Bacteriocins / pharmacology*
  • Cheese / microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Enterococcus faecalis / metabolism
  • Food Microbiology
  • Humans
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Time Factors


  • Bacteriocins
  • enterocin AS-48, Enterococcus faecalis