Application of molecular approaches to study lactic acid bacteria in artisanal cheeses.
ABSTRACT The present review focuses on the application of the most common molecular approaches for the investigation of the diversity of LAB in the artisanal cheese environment, and for their tracking within this complex ecosystem. Historically the detection and identification of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) has largely been hampered by the incomplete knowledge of their optimal in vitro culture conditions. Recent years have seen an explosion in the application of molecular tools for elucidating both qualitatively and quantitatively on the abundance of LAB species and how their presence interacts with the environment. Many of these approaches, predominantly rooted in the use of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and its encoding genes, are successfully applied to describe the relationship between LAB and their individual identity. In the present work emphasis is given to the methodologies to determine the complex communities as well as to the detection of individual groups of LAB of several artisanal cheeses. Moreover, analyses of viability of LAB during the manufacture and ripening, through culture-independent approaches is also discussed. The potential of novel advances in molecular technologies such as metagenomic for analysis of the cheese ecosystem is also provided.