Microflora of Feta cheese from four Greek manufacturers

Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Aug 15;126(1-2):36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.04.031. Epub 2008 May 6.


The components of the microflora of four Feta cheeses, produced by different Greek manufacturers, were determined by culture dependent and independent techniques. Isolates from microbiological media were first grouped by Polymerase Chain Reaction-Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) and then representatives of each DGGE group were sequenced for identification purposes. DNA and RNA, extracted directly from the cheese, were subjected to PCR-DGGE. Moreover, Feta cheeses were subjected to FISH analysis in order to identify viable bacterial populations. The microbial ecology, as represented by the Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and yeast populations, was different for the four cheeses. The main LAB species isolated were Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus coryniformis and Lactobacillus fermentum. However, some inconsistencies were observed between the results obtained with the culture dependent and the culture independent approach. In the case of the yeasts, the results obtained by PCR-DGGE compared very well with those obtained by the conventional microbiological analysis and the main species found were Kluyveromyces lactis, Pichia fermentans and C. zeylanoides. FISH analysis highlighted viable but not culturable populations of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus spp. RAPD-PCR performed on the L. plantarum isolates revealed a cheese specific distribution and a temperature dependent clustering.

MeSH terms

  • Cheese / microbiology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Colony Count, Microbial / methods*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Ecosystem
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel / methods
  • Fermentation
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Population Dynamics
  • RNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Species Specificity
  • Temperature
  • Yeasts / genetics
  • Yeasts / isolation & purification*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial