The microbial diversity of traditional Turkish Divle Cave cheese was evaluated in three independent batches. Using molecular techniques, twenty three bacterial species were identified in the interior and outer part of the cheese on days 60 and 120. Bacilli and Gammaproteobacteria classes were predominant during early stages of ripening and Actinobacteria at later stages. Nineteen species of filamentous fungi and five yeast species were identified and the most frequently isolated species were Penicillium polonicum, Penicillium biforme, Penicillium roqueforti, Penicillium chrysogenum and Debaryomyces hansenii. The microbiota displayed similar communities among batches, but high diversity in different parts of the cheese during ripening. Novel cheese starter cultures could be developed after the technological characterisation of the isolated strains. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.