Bacteriocinogenic cultures can represent a natural way to increase the safety of cheeses made from raw milk, in which a relevant role in ripening and flavor formation is exerted by the nonstarter lactic acid bacteria (NSLAB). Since the latter can be inhibited by bacteriocin producers, this study evaluated to which extent a nisinogenic culture inoculated at low initial levels can affect the growth rate and peptide degradation activity of the nisin-sensitive cheese isolate Lactobacillus plantarum
LZ by comparison with its isogenic variant, L. plantarum
LZNI, with increased immunity to nisin. A growth delay of the nisin sensitive strain was observed only when its initial number was 100-fold lower than the nisin producer and nisin was added as an inducer of its own production. In this case, the amount of free α-amino groups was significantly different between cultures of L. plantarum
LZ and LZNI only at Day 1. Reverse Phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC) highlighted a few differences between the peptide profiles of co-cultures L. plantarum
LZ and LZNI. However, results showed that the bacteriocin producer did not dramatically influence the behavior of the sensitive NSLAB and that the evaluation of the effects on microbial contaminants in cheese is worthwhile.
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