Summary: technological properties of lactic acid cultures

In addition to properties mentioned above, the following lists includes other technological properties of importance to cheese making. Note that many of these technological characteristics are encoded on extra-chromosomal genetic material called plasmids. Plasmids have the disadvantage of being unstable so characteristics encoded on plasmids are also unstable. The advantage is that plasmids can be transferred to other bacteria so microbiologists can readily transfer technological properties from one LAB to another.

  • Lactose metabolism. Most but not all LAB are able to metabolize lactose.
  • Galactose metabolism. The ability to ferment lactose is important for late acid development in Italian cheese and to control browning on Mozzarella cheese.
  • Proteolytic characteristics which determine cheese flavour development.
  • Resistance to phage (bacterial viruses).
  • The ability to metabolize citrate which is associated with flavour development (diacetyl or butter milk flavour) and gas formation.
  • Production of bacteriocins, that is, antibiotics produced by bacteria against other bacteria.
  • Resistance to bacteriocins
  • Antibiotic resistance.