Protease and lipase activities of fungal and bacterial strains derived from an artisanal raw ewe's milk cheese

Sebnem Ozturkoglu Budak, Ad Wiebenga, Peter A Bron, Ronald P de Vries

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    73 Citations (Scopus)


    We previously identified the microbiota present during cheese ripening and observed high protease and lipase activity in Divle Cave cheese. To determine the contribution of individual isolates to enzyme activities, we investigated a range of species representing this microbiota for their proteolytic and lipolytic ability. In total, 17 fungal, 5 yeast and 18 bacterial strains, previously isolated from Divle Cave cheese, were assessed. Qualitative protease and lipase activities were performed on skim-milk agar and spirit-blue lipase agar, respectively, and resulted in a selection of strains for quantitative assays. For the quantitative assays, the strains were grown on minimal medium containing irradiated Divle Cave cheese, obtained from the first day of ripening. Out of 16 selected filamentous fungi, Penicillium brevicompactum, Penicillium cavernicola and Penicillium olsonii showed the highest protease activity, while Mucor racemosus was the best lipase producer. Yarrowia lipolytica was the best performing yeast with respect to protease and lipase activity. From the 18 bacterial strains, 14 and 11 strains, respectively showed protease and lipase activity in agar plates. Micrococcus luteus, Bacillus stratosphericus, Brevibacterium antiquum, Psychrobacter glacincola and Pseudomonas proteolytica displayed the highest protease and lipase activity. The proteases of yeast and filamentous fungi were identified as mainly aspartic protease by specific inhibition with Pepstatin A, whereas inhibition by PMSF (phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride) indicated that most bacterial enzymes belong to serine type protease. Our results demonstrate that aspartic proteases, which usually have high milk clotting activity, are predominantly derived from fungal strains, and therefore fungal enzymes appear to be more suitable for use in the cheese industry. Microbial enzymes studied in this research might be alternatives for rennin (chymosin) from animal source because of their low cost and stable availability. Future studies will aim to purify these enzymes to test their suitability for use in similar artisanal cheeses or in large scale commercial cheeses.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-27
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


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