Staff of the Department of Food Science – University of Copenhagen

The language of cheese-ripening cultures

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Klaus Gori, Lene Jespersen

Microbial interactions are of importance for the establishment and
growth of cheese ripening cultures. An interesting aspect of microbial
interactions is cell-cell communication, often referred to as quorum
sensing; the process in which micro-organisms communicate with
signalling molecules and co-ordinate gene expression in a cell
density dependent manner. Little is known about quorum sensing
in foods. However, as quorum sensing is expected to be a general
phenomenon in micro-organisms, it is likely to be of importance
for micro-organisms in foods. An example of a food product where
quorum sensing could be of importance is surface ripened cheeses.
The present review focuses on our findings on quorum sensing
systems in cheese ripening cultures. The main focus is on the group
of bacterial non-species-specific signalling molecules referred to
as autoinducer-2 (AI-2) in smear bacteria as well as alcohol-based
and ammonia signalling in the dairy-relevant yeast Debaryomyces
hansenii. Furthermore, the influence of cheese matrices on quorum
sensing systems is briefly mentioned. Finally, we discuss how
knowledge on quorum sensing systems in cheese ripening cultures
may be used for optimisation of the ripening processes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Journal of Dairy Technology
Volume65
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)192-194
Number of pages3
ISSN0004-9433
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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