Intrinsic parameters and bacterial growth prediction in a Brazilian minimally ripened cheese (Coalho) during refrigerated storage

Maiara da costa Lima, Maria Lúcia Da Conceição, Donald W. Schaffner, Evandro Leite De Souza

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This study evaluated the microbiological and physicochemical characteristics in different commercial brands of a Brazilian minimally ripened (coalho) cheese during 60 days of storage under refrigeration. Combinations of maximum and minimum values of water activity and pH determined in cheese samples at refrigeration temperature (7°C) were used in a bacterial growth prediction analysis. Maximum growth rate (Grmax) was estimated for different pathogenic and/or spoilage bacteria using the ComBase Predictor. Results of microbiological characterization analyses showed persistent high counts for all monitored microbial groups (Lactobacillus spp., Lactococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp., Enterobacteriaceae, proteolytic and lipolytic microorganisms, and fungi) in cheese samples; no dominant microbial group was observed over time. Values of pH (6.03 ± 0.16 to 7.28 ± 0.55), acidity (0.15% ± 0.09% to 0.66% ± 0.26%), sodium chloride (1.05% ± 0.19% to 1.97% ± 0.75%), and water activity (0.948 ± 0.020 to 0.974 ± 0.012) did not vary in cheese samples during storage. Estimated Grmax values for the tested bacteria were in the range of 0.004 to 0.044 log CFU/h. Highest Grmax values (0.005 to 0.044 log CFU/h) were predicted for the psychrotrophic Aeromonas hydrophila, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas spp., and Yersinia enterocolitica. Grmax values predicted for Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., and Staphylococcus aureus were in the range of 0.004 to 0.016 log CFU/h. These results indicate unsatisfactory microbiological characteristics of commercially available coalho cheese. Physicochemical characteristics of commercial coalho cheese stored under refrigeration allow bacterial growth to occur, indicating higher risk for fast growth of contaminant bacteria in this product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1800-1809
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


  • Microbial risk
  • Microbiological control
  • Minimally ripened cheese
  • Shelf life

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