Fungal community and physicochemical profiles of ripened cheeses from the Canastra of Minas Gerais, Brazil
J Food Sci Technol. 2022 Dec;59(12):4685-4694. doi: 10.1007/s13197-022-05548-4. Epub 2022 Aug 5.
Canastra’s Minas artisanal cheese [QMA (Minas artisanal cheese)] is a protected geographical indication traditional food. The influence of fungi on the cheese ripening process is of great importance. This study aimed to apply culture-dependent and -independent methods to determine the mycobiota of QMA produced in the Canastra region, as well as to determine its physicochemical characteristics. Illumina-based amplicon sequencing and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry were the culture-independent methods used. The physicochemical analysis results showed that the QMA has a moisture content ranging 18.4-28.2%, fat content ranging 20.5-40%, sodium chloride percentage of approximately 0.9%, and pH ranging 5.2-5.5. The population of fungi ranged between 6.3 and 8 log colony-forming unit/g. Fusarium spp., Geotrichum candidum, Paecilomyces spp., Trichosporon coremiiforme, Candida catenulata, Aspergillus spp., Trichosporon japonicum, Aspergillus oryzae, Kluyveromyces spp., Torulaspora spp., and Debaryomyces spp. were the most prevalent fungi. The methods used to evaluate the mycobiota provide a better understanding of which species are present in the final product and eventually contribute to the characteristics of QMA. Geotrichum candidum and C. catenulata were identified as promising species for future studies on product quality.