Bifidobacteria cultures were incorporated into Cheddar cheeses to conduct a comparative analysis between the commercially available strain Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis Bb-12 and the wild-type intestinal isolate, Bifidobacterium longum DJO10A. They were incorporated as starter adjuncts in separate vats and as a mixed culture, and survival through manufacturing and cheese ripening was assessed. For cheese using only Bb-12, the cells may have grown during cheese manufacture as 133% of the inoculum was incorporated into the cheese, resulting in 8.00 log cfu/g. Counts remained high during ripening showing less than 1 log decrease over a 12-mo period. For cheese using a mixed culture of Bb-12 and DJO10A, both strains were incorporated at much lower levels: 3.02 and 1.11%, respectively. This resulted in cheese with 6.00 and 5.04 log cfu/g for Bb-12 and DJO10A, respectively. Bifidobacteria survival rates were low, most likely due to the moisture of the cheese being below 38%. The Bb-12 demonstrated almost 100% viability during ripening. Numbers of DJO10A started to decline after 2 mo of ripening and dropped below the level of detection (2 log cfu/g) after 4.5 mo of ripening. Neither DJO10A nor Bb-12 fortified cheeses produced detectable amounts of organic acids during ripening other than lactic acid, indicating the lack of detectable metabolic contribution from bifidobacteria during cheese production and ripening such as production of acetic acid. To determine if sublethal stresses could improve the viability of DJO10A, 2 more vats were made, 1 with DJO10A exposed to sublethal acid, cold, and centrifugation stresses, and 1 exposed to none of these stresses. Although stress-primed DJO10A survived cheese manufacture better, as 72.8% were incorporated into the cheese compared with 41.1% of the unprimed, the statistical significance of this difference is unknown. In addition, the difference in moisture levels in the cheese cannot be excluded as influencing this difference. However, the rate of decline during ripening was similar for both. After 6 mo of ripening, cell counts in cheese were 4.68 and 4.24 log cfu/g for primed and unprimed cultures, respectively. These results suggest that whereas priming bifidobacteria with sublethal stresses before incorporation in a cheese fermentation may improve the number of viable cells that get incorporated into the cheese, it does not affect viability during cheese ripening.
- Cheddar cheese