Tyramine and histamine are the biogenic amines (BAs) most commonly found in cheese, in which they appear as a result of the microbial enzymatic decarboxylation of tyrosine and histidine respectively. Given their toxic effects, their presence in high concentrations in foods should be avoided. In this work, samples of three cheeses (Zamorano, Cabrales and Emmental) with long ripening periods, and that often have high BA concentrations, were screened for the presence of BA-degrading lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Seventeen isolates were found that were able to degrade tyramine and histamine in broth culture. All 17 isolates were identified by 16S rRNA sequencing as belonging to Lactobacillus casei. They were typed by plasmid S1-PFGE and genomic macrorestriction-PFGE analysis. Two strains (L. casei 4a and 5b) associated with high degradation rates for both BAs were selected to test how this ability might affect histamine and tyramine accumulation in a Cabrales-like mini-cheese manufacturing model. The quantification of BAs and the monitoring of the strains' growth over ripening were undertaken by RP-HPLC and qPCR respectively. Both strains were found to reduce histamine and tyramine accumulation. These two strains might be suitable for use as adjunct cultures for reducing the presence of BAs in cheese.
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