FTIR-based polyphasic identification of lactic acid bacteria isolated from traditional Greek Graviera cheese.
This study used a combination of phenotypic, physical (Fourier Transformed Infra-Red [FTIR] spectroscopy) and molecular (RFLP and SSCP analysis of 16S rRNA genes) methods to identify the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) flora present in traditional Greek Graviera cheese after five weeks of ripening. A total of 300 isolates collected from high dilution plates of TSAYE (incubated at 30 °C), M-17 (22 °C) and M-17 (42 °C) agar media were clustered by FTIR and then representative strains of each cluster were cross-identified blindly by all methods. Based on their FTIR spectra, 282 isolates were LAB grouped in 28 clusters. The LAB species identified and their prevalence in the cheese samples were: Lactobacillus casei/paracasei (68.8%), Lactobacillus plantarum (19.5%), Streptococcus thermophilus (8.9%), Enterococcus faecium (2.1%), and Lactococcus lactis (0.7%). Also, Staphylococcus equorum (11 isolates), Corynebacterium sp. (5 isolates) and Brevibacterium sp. (1 isolate) were recovered from TSAYE. Comparative identification results showed that phenotypic and molecular methods were in mutual agreement as regards the LAB species identified. The present polyphasic identification approach based on rapid FTIR screening of 10-fold more isolates than a previous classical identification approach allowed or improved detection of few sub-dominant species; however the predominant LAB species in the cheese samples were the same with both approaches.