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Use of the selective agar medium CREAD for monitoring the level of airborne spoilage moulds in cheese production

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Kjetil Aune

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kjetil.aune@nofima.no

International Journal of Food Microbiology ; Volume 122. p. 29–34. 2008

Kure, Cathrine F.; Borch, Elisabeth; Karlsson, Ingela; Homleid, Jens Petter; Langsrud, Solveig

It was investigated if the a selective medium for common cheese spoiling moulds (CREAD) could give more relevant information than a general mould medium in hygienic air-sampling in cheese factories. A total of 126 air-samples were taken in six Nordic cheese factories using the general mould medium DG18 and CREAD. The level and genera of air-borne mould was determined. Identification to species-level was performed for a selection of samples. In five cheese factories the mycobiota was dominated by Penicillium spp and in one cheese factory by Cladosporium spp. The concentration of air-borne moulds varied between the cheese factories ranging from 1 to 270 cfu/m3 on DG18 with a median value of 17. The number of mould colonies was in general lower at CREAD. Identification indicated that CREAD supported growth of common spoilage moulds for cheese, such as Penicillium palitans and P. commune. The mycobiota on DG18 also consisted of moulds not commonly associated with spoilage of cheese, such as Cladosporium spp., P. brevicompactum and P. chrysogenum. Contamination of cheese with mould is periodically a problem in production of semi-hard cheese and the level of air-borne mould is therefore routinely monitored in cheese factories. A clear correlation between the total number of moulds in air and mould growth on products is not always found. The conclusion from the investigation is that it is recommended to use a selective medium for cheese spoilage moulds, such as CREAD in hygienic monitoring.

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