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Wooden Tools: Reservoirs of Microbial Biodiversity in Traditional Cheesemaking

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  • Authors: Sylvie Lortal1, Giuseppe Licitra2, Florence Valence3
  • Editor: Catherine W. Donnelly4
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, UMR1253 Science et Technologie du lait et de l'œuf, 35042 Rennes, France; 2: CoRFiLaC, 97100 Ragusa, Italy; 3: INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, UMR1253 Science et Technologie du lait et de l'œuf, 35042 Rennes, France; 4: University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  • Source: microbiolspec January 2014 vol. 2 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012
  • Received 13 March 2012 Accepted 11 June 2012 Published 24 January 2014
  • Sylvie Lortal, Sylvie.Lortal@rennes.inra.fr
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  • Abstract:

    Today, wooden shelves are used for the ripening of about 500,000 tons of cheese per year in Europe, including about 350,000 tons in France, such as most of the famous cheeses with the protected designation of origin (PDO), e.g., Comté, Reblochon, Beaufort, Munster, Cantal, and Roquefort. For some PDO cheeses, the use of wooden tools is mandatory. Many cheesemakers believe that wooden tools improve the organoleptic and typical characteristics of their final products. Wood is a natural and sustainable material which has been used for centuries in traditional cheese production in a wide variety of forms (vats, shelves, and packaging). Wood is important in the cheesemaking process, interacting with the milk in vats or with the cheeses placed on shelves for ripening. Wood is viable due to its ability to exchange water but, above all, because it is covered by a rich microbial biofilm. As wood is porous and difficult to clean, the European Commission regularly highlights the question of its safety when in contact with food and calls for deeper scientific investigation. In this review, knowledge about the multiple technological roles of wood in dairy technology is discussed. The crucial role of wood as a reservoir of microbial biodiversity for traditional cheeses is reviewed, along with results of safety assessments. As a conclusion, the numerous questions remaining about this natural inoculating system are discussed.

  • Citation: Lortal S, Licitra G, Valence F. 2014. Wooden Tools: Reservoirs of Microbial Biodiversity in Traditional Cheesemaking. Microbiol Spectrum 2(1):CM-0008-2012. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012.

Key Concept Ranking

Scanning Electron Microscopy
0.45571953
Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis
0.44687063
Lactic Acid Bacteria
0.44416183
Multilocus Sequence Typing
0.44244614
0.45571953

References

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2. El abed S, Mostakim M, Berguadi F, Latrach, H, Houari A, Hamadi F, Ibnsouda Koraichi S. 2011. Study of microbial adhesion on some wood species: theoretical prediction. Mikrobiologiia 80:43–49.
3. Codex Alimentarius Commission. 1993. Report of the Twenty-Sixth Session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene, Washington D.C., 1–5 March 1993. Codex Alimentarius Commission, Rome, Italy.
4. European Union. 1976. Council Directive 76/893/EEC of 23 November 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. Off J Eur Union L 340, p 19–24.
5. European Union. 1989. Council Directive 89/109/EEC of 21 December 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. Off J Eur Union L 040, p 38–44.
6. European Union. 2004. Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and repealing Directives 80/590/EEC and 89/109/EEC. Off J Eur Union L 338, p 4–14.
7. European Union. 2004. Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for the hygiene of foodstuffs. Off J Eur Union L 139, p 55–205.
8. ANSES. Saisine no. 2007-SA-0206. ANSES, Maisons-Alfort, France.
9. Code of Federal Regulations. 2009. 7 CFR 58 Part 58—Grading and inspection, general specifications for approved plants and standards for grades of dairy products, 58.128. Equipment and utensils. 7 U.S.C. 1621–1627.
10. Paxson H. 2010. Locating value in artisan cheese: reverse engineering terroir for New-World landscapes. Am Anthropol 112:444–457. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01251.x. [CrossRef]
11. ACTIA. 2000. Evaluation et maîtrise du risque microbiologique dans l’utilisation du bois pour l’affinage des fromages. ACTIA, Paris, France.
12. Ak N, Cliver D, Kaspar C. 1994. Cutting boards of plastic and wood contaminated experimentally with bacteria. J Food Prot 57:16–22.
13. Ak N, Cliver D, Kaspar C. 1994. Decontamination of plastic and wooden cutting boards for kitchen use. J Food Prot 57:23–30.
14. Licitra G, Ogier JC, Parayre S, Pediliggieri C, Carnemolla TM, Falentin H, Madec MN, Carpino S, Lortal S. 2007. Variability of bacterial biofilms of the “tina” wood vats used in the Ragusano cheese-making process. Appl Environ Microbiol 73:6980–6987. [PubMed][CrossRef]
15. Lortal S, Di Blasi A, Madec MN, Pediliggieri C, Tuminello L, Tanguy G, Fauquant J, Lecuona Y, Campo P, Carpino S, Licitra G. 2009. Tina wooden vat biofilm: a safe and highly efficient lactic acid bacteria delivering system in PDO Ragusano cheese making. Int J Food Microbiol 132:1–8. [PubMed][CrossRef]
16. Richard J. 1997. Utilisation du bois comme materiau au contact des produits laitiers. C R Acad Agric France 83:27–34.
17. Didienne R, Defargues C, Callon C, Meylheuc T, Hulin S, Montel M-C. 2012. Characteristics of microbial biofilm on wooden vats (“gerles”) in PDO Salers cheese. Int J Food Microbiol doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2012.03.007. [PubMed][CrossRef]
18. Notz E, Plancher B. 2011. Utilisation du bois pour l’affinage des fromages: une dynamique hydrique inimitable. Revue ENIL 313:16–21.
19. Dumont JP, Roger S, Cerf P, Adda J. 1974. Etude de composes volatils neutres presents dans le Vacherin. Lait 54:243–251.
20. Bosset JO, Butikofer U, Berger T, Gauch R. 1997. Etude des composes volatils du Vacherin fribourgeois et du Vacherin Mont-d’Or. Mitt Gebiete Lebensmitteluntersuch Hyg 88:233–258.
21. Mariani C, Briandet R, Chamba J-F, Notz E, Carnet-Pantiez A, Eyoug RN, Oulahal N. 2007. Biofilm ecology of wooden shelves used in ripening the French raw milk smear cheese Reblochon de Savoie. J Dairy Sci 90:1653–1661. [PubMed][CrossRef]
22. Mariani C, Oulahal N, Chamba J-F, Dubois-Brissonnet F, Notz E, Briandet R. 2011. Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes by resident biofilms present on wooden shelves used for cheese ripening. Food Control 22:1357–1362.
23. Schuler S. 1994. Einfluss der Käseunterlage auf die Schmierebildung und die Qualität von Halbhartkäse. Schweiz Milchwirtschaftl Forsch 23:73–77.
24. Oulahal N, Adt I, Mariani C, Carnet-Pantiez A, Notz E, Degraeve, P. 2009. Examination of wooden shelves used in the ripening of a raw milk smear cheese by FTIR spectroscopy. Food Control 20:658–663.
25. Fontaine L, Hols P. 2007. The inhibitory spectrum of thermophilin 9 from Streptococcus thermophilus LMD-9 depends on the production of multiple peptides and the activity of BlpGSt, a thiol-disulfide oxidase. Appl Environ Microbiol 74:1102–1110. [PubMed][CrossRef]
26. Miller A, Brown T, Call J. 1996. Comparison of wooden and polyethylene cutting boards: potential for the attachment and removal of bacteria from ground beef. J Food Prot 59:854–858.
27. Schulz H. 1995. Holz im Kontakt mit Lebensmitteln. Hat Holz antibakterielle Eigenschaften? Holz Zentralbl 84:1395.
28. Menendez S, Godinez MR, Rodriguez-Otero JL, Centeno JA. 1997. Removal of Listeria spp. in a cheese factory. J Food Safety 17:133–139.
29. Silva IM, Almeida RC, Alves MA, Almeida P. 2003. Occurrence of Listeria spp. in critical control points and the environment of Minas Frescal cheese processing. Int J Food Microbiol 81:241–248. [PubMed]
30. Carminati D, Perrone A, Neviani E, Mucchetti G. 2000. Influence of traditional brine washing of smear Taleggio cheese on the surface spreading of Listeria innocua. J Food Prot 63:1353–1358. [PubMed]
31. Zangerl P, Matlschweiger C, Dillinger K, Eliskases-Lechner F. 2009. Survival of Listeria monocytogenes after cleaning and sanitation of wooden shelves used for cheese ripening. Eur J Wood Wood Products 68:415–419.
32. Licitra G. 2010. World wide traditional cheeses: banned for business? Dairy Sci Technol 90:357–374.
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2014-01-24
2017-03-29

Abstract:

Today, wooden shelves are used for the ripening of about 500,000 tons of cheese per year in Europe, including about 350,000 tons in France, such as most of the famous cheeses with the protected designation of origin (PDO), e.g., Comté, Reblochon, Beaufort, Munster, Cantal, and Roquefort. For some PDO cheeses, the use of wooden tools is mandatory. Many cheesemakers believe that wooden tools improve the organoleptic and typical characteristics of their final products. Wood is a natural and sustainable material which has been used for centuries in traditional cheese production in a wide variety of forms (vats, shelves, and packaging). Wood is important in the cheesemaking process, interacting with the milk in vats or with the cheeses placed on shelves for ripening. Wood is viable due to its ability to exchange water but, above all, because it is covered by a rich microbial biofilm. As wood is porous and difficult to clean, the European Commission regularly highlights the question of its safety when in contact with food and calls for deeper scientific investigation. In this review, knowledge about the multiple technological roles of wood in dairy technology is discussed. The crucial role of wood as a reservoir of microbial biodiversity for traditional cheeses is reviewed, along with results of safety assessments. As a conclusion, the numerous questions remaining about this natural inoculating system are discussed.

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FIGURE 1

Examples of wooden tools. (A) A wooden vat; (B) shelves used for cheese ripening. Both are used in French PDO cheesemaking. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012.f1

Source: microbiolspec January 2014 vol. 2 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Scanning electron microscopy of the surface of spruce ripening shelves showing wood tubular structure. Cross sections are in the direction of wood fibers (A) and perpendicular to the fibers (B). Courtesy of E. Notz. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012.f2

Source: microbiolspec January 2014 vol. 2 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012
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FIGURE 3

Microbial biofilm covering the wooden vat called a tina used in Ragusano cheesemaking. Shown are scanning electron micrographs of bacterial cells embedded in the polysaccharides at the surface of wood (A) and inside the wood fibers (B). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012.f3

Source: microbiolspec January 2014 vol. 2 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012
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FIGURE 4

Spontaneous acidification at 37°C of microfiltered milk before (diamonds) and after contact 10 min with the tina wooden vat (circles) showing the efficient inoculation of lactic acid bacteria into the milk ( 15 ). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012.f4

Source: microbiolspec January 2014 vol. 2 no. 1 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0008-2012
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