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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

versão impressa ISSN 1517-8382versão On-line ISSN 1678-4405


MARTINS, José M. et al. Determining the minimum ripening time of artisanal Minas cheese, a traditional Brazilian cheese. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2015, vol.46, n.1, pp.219-230. ISSN 1517-8382.

Physical, physicochemical, and microbiological changes were monitored in 256 samples of artisanal Minas cheese from eight producers from Serro region (Minas Gerais, Brazil) for 64 days of ripening to determine the minimum ripening time for the cheese to reach the safe microbiological limits established by Brazilian legislation. The cheeses were produced between dry season (April–September) and rainy season (October–March); 128 cheeses were ripened at room temperature (25 ± 4 °C), and 128 were ripened under refrigeration (8 ± 1 °C), as a control. No Listeria monocytogenes was found, but one cheese under refrigeration had Salmonella at first 15 days of ripening. However, after 22 days, the pathogen was not detected. Seventeen days was the minimum ripening time at room temperature to reduce at safe limits of total coliforms > 1000 cfu.g−1), Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus (> 100 cfu.g−1) in both periods of manufacture. Otherwise under refrigeration, as expected, the minimum ripening time was longer, 33 days in the dry season and 63 days in the rainy season. To sum up, we suggest that the ripening of artisanal Minas cheese be done at room temperature, since this condition shortens the time needed to reach the microbiological quality that falls within the safety parameters required by Brazilian law, and at the same time maintain the appearance and flavor characteristics of this traditional cheese.

Palavras-chave : ripening; artisanal Minas cheese; Serro; pathogen; lactic acid bacteria.

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