Pecorino di Filiano cheese as a selective habitat for the yeast species, Debaryomyces hansenii

A. Capece, P. Romano
International Journal of Food Microbiology 132 (2009) 180-184

The composition of yeast microflora in artisanal Pecorino di Filiano cheese, a typical product of the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, was studied during ripening. The isolates were identified by restriction analysis of the 18S rDNA amplified region with the combined use of Hinf I and Cfo I enzymes. The majority of the isolates were identified as Debaryomyces hansenii, whereas two yeasts were identified as Kluyveromyces lactis and one as Dekkera anomala.
To evaluate natural biodiversity, D. hansenii Pecorino di Filiano isolates were submitted to genetic and technological characterization. RAPD-PCR analysis with P80 (5CGCGTGCCCA3) primer revealed significant polymorphism among D. hansenii isolates. About 30% of the isolates showed single molecular profiles, whereas the other D. hansenii yeasts were separated into three main patterns, differing for both the ripening time and the isolation source. Furthermore, the yeasts showed significant variability in their, proteolytic activity.
This work demonstrated the high predominance of D. hansenii among the yeast population of Pecorino di Filiano cheese, probably in consequence of the traditional salting process, which was selected for this salt tolerant species. This preliminary study allowed us to isolate autochthonous D. hansenii yeasts potentially useful as starters for the production of this artisanal cheese.

Pecorino di Filiano cheese as a selective habitat for the yeast species, Debaryomyces hansenii