factsheet

Bacteria, Yeasts and Microflora from Quebec Cheeses

Project entitled:

Searching the microflora of local milks and cheeses

Steve Labrie

Highlights

  • Milk quality has a large influence on the production and ripening of fine cheeses. The recent introduction of genomic techniques has contributed to our understanding of milk microbial ecosystems. A number of species of bacteria, yeasts and moulds have been identified in cheeses without describing their roles (positive or negative) and activities (production of aromatic compounds) in the cheese ripening process.
  • Quebec’s cheeses often meet the highest standards and, at times, lack consistency in regards to quality. In addition, little is known about the indigenous microflora of fine cheeses from Quebec.
  • The expected results, including the inventorying of natural species of Quebec cheeses, will allow us to determine the impact of the region on cheese microflora and to determine local cheese typicity.
  • This project will therefore help to improve our control of microflora of Quebec cheeses and to improve their consistency. It is hoped that cheeses from Quebec will be in a better position to compete with imported foreign cheeses.

 

Objectives

To identify the microflora resulting from the ripening of a number of fine cheeses from Quebec using genomics; to understand the roles and activities of typical species of bacteria, yeasts and moulds in order to predict the production of aromatic compounds which give taste and flavour to Quebec cheeses.

More specifically:

  • To complete an inventory of the species present in fine cheeses from Quebec;
  • To identify the metabolic pathways of 20 keys species from the secondary microflora of fine cheeses;
  • To detect changes induced by the different ripening parameters on the expression of these metabolic pathways;
  • To determine the impact of different production and ripening process parameters on the expression of genes from natural microflora and their metabolic pathways.

 

Results and potential benefits

The inventorying of natural species of Quebec fine cheeses will allow us to determine the impact of the region on cheese microflora and to report on local cheese typicity. Subsequently, the importance of the species identified can be evaluated by determining their major metabolic pathways (determination of useful and harmful species).

The influence of technological production parameters will then allow us to provide an overall evaluation of the ripening parameters on the activities of the species selected. Lastly, cheese production is planned in order to validate, in a pilot context, the behaviour of strains and the impact of the parameters selected in regards to their activities and the production of aromatic compounds that give taste and flavour to fine cheeses.

This project will therefore help increase control over the microflora of Quebec cheeses and improve their consistency. It is hoped that the application of these recommendations will contribute to cheesemaking knowledge in Quebec and result in an increased recognition of local cheeses. Lastly, it is hoped that Quebec cheeses will be in a better position to compete with imported foreign cheeses.

 

Professionals trained

3 masters students:

  • Andréanne Lamarche: Detection of indigenous microorganisms
  • Annick Raymond-Fleury: Cheese metagenomics
  • Gabrielle Jacquemet: Identification of metabolic pathways and the impact of different production parameters

 

Financial contributions

Partnership for innovation in dairy production and dairy processing (EPI2015-2019):

  • Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies
  • Consortium de recherche et innovations en bioprocédés industriels au Québec
  • Novalait