Programme "Scientific projects"

Metagenomics analysis of the Feta cheese ecosystem and isolation of the first microbial consortia from this environment

Department of Food Science and Technology, Agricultural University of Athens


Feta is the flagship among Greek cheeses with great significance for the Greek economy. A major factor affecting the organoleptic characteristics of Feta cheese is the starter/non-starter microorganisms that participate in the fermentation process during cheese ripening.

This study is the first attempt aiming at:

  1. the isolation of complete microbial consortia from high quality Feta cheese samples and
  2. the characterization of the Feta cheese ecosystem by state-of-the-art metagenomics.

Our main focus will be to compare the microbial communities between Feta cheese samples produced at industrial scale and in households. Two different metagenomic approaches will be employed, i.e. 16S rRNA and shotgun metagenomics. Our findings will provide novel information about the composition of the Feta cheese microbiome and its entire gene pool. This information is vital to unravel the development of the organoleptic characteristics of Feta cheese that will ultimately lead to an efficient control of its quality. 


Effie Tsakalidou, Agricultural University of Athens

Project's Team:

Rania Anastasiou, Agricultural University of Athens

Konstantinos Papadimitriou, Agricultural University of Athens

Maria Kazou, Agricultural University of Athens

Voula Alexandraki, Agricultural University of Athens

75, Iera Odos Av.

11855 Athens

Tel.: +30 210 52 94 664

Fax: +30 210 52 94 873