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

Metagenomics analysis of the Feta cheese ecosystem and isolation of the first microbial consortia from this environment
YEAR
2015
GRANTEE
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.