Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version



Published in Current Microbiology (2015); DOI 10.1007/s00284-015-0790-1


Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


To generate a comprehensive profile of viable fungi (yeasts and molds) on cheese as it is purchased by consumers, 44 types of cheese were obtained from a local grocery store from 1 to 4 times each (depending on availability) and sampled. Pure cultures were obtained and identified by DNA sequence of the ITS region, as well as growth characteristics and colony morphology. The yeast Debaryomyces hansenii was the most abundant fungus, present in 79 % of all cheeses and 63 % of all samples. Penicillium roqueforti was the most common mold, isolated from a variety of cheeses in addition to the blue cheeses. Eighteen other fungal species were isolated, ten from only one sample each. Most fungi isolated have been documented from dairy products; a few raise potential food safety concerns (i.e. Aspergillus flavus, isolated from a single sample and capable of producing aflatoxins; and Candida parapsilosis, an emerging human pathogen isolated from three cheeses). With the exception of D. hansenii (present in most cheese) and P. roqueforti (a necessary component of blue cheese), no strong correlation was observed between cheese type, manufacturer, or sampling time with the yeast or mold species composition.