Levels of biogenic amines in cheese: correlation to microbial status, dietary intakes, and their health risk assessment

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Dec;27(35):44452-44459. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-10401-2. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


Biogenic amines (BAs) are natural toxicants produced during the metabolism of their precursor amino acids or due to the proteolytic activities of some microorganisms. The objective of this study was to estimate the formed BAs in five types of the most commonly consumed and retailed cheese in Egypt. The examined cheese types included Feta, Karish, Mozzarella, Rumy, and Mish. Besides, the total mesophilic (TMC) and total psychrophilic (TPsC) bacterial counts were investigated. Furthermore, the estimated daily intakes (EDI) of BAs via the ingestion of various types of cheese were calculated, and their potential health risks were discussed. The achieved results indicated the formation of histamine (HIS), tyramine (TYR), cadaverine (CAD), putrescine, spermine, and spermidine at different concentrations. Except for Feta cheese, all samples (100%) of other cheese types had HIS concentrations higher than the established maximum permissible limits. Mish cheese contained the highest concentrations of total BAs, particularly, HIS, TYR, and CAD. TBA content showed significant positive correlations with TMC in the examined cheese types. The recorded EDI values of the different BAs in the current study would not have adverse effects. However, excessive consumption of cheese contaminated with BA might have serious health implications such as symptoms of histamine poisoning. Therefore, the adoption of strict hygienic measures during the production, storage, and distribution of cheese is highly recommended to reduce the formation of BAs in cheese.

Keywords: Biogenic amines; Cheese; Dietary intakes; Egypt; Microbial population; Risk assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Biogenic Amines / analysis
  • Cheese*
  • Egypt
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spermidine


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Spermidine