Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) arise in Kaşar cheese, an artisanal pasta filata cheese produced in Turkey from raw milk without starter addition or pasteurized milk with starter culture. In this study, 13 samples of Kaşar cheese that were produced from raw milk were used as reference materials. LAB were characterized by using phenotypic, API and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy methods. One hundred and fifty-seven (157) strains were isolated from 13 cheese samples, and identification test was performed for 83 strains. At the end of the study, a total of 22 Lactococcus sp., 36 Enterecoccus sp. and 25 Lactobacillus sp. were determined in the isolated strains by phenotypic identification. After identification with FTIR spectroscopy and statistical analysis, expected results were not taken by FTIR spectroscopy due to higher correlation (> % 99) obtained with more than one reference culture. Fewer number of reference strains was a limitation of the analysis. Therefore, identification should be made with more reference bacteria in the FTIR analysis and should also be supported with molecular techniques.
Key words: Kaşar cheese, lactic acid bacteria, identification, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR).