Klila, an Algerian cheese produced in steppe and mountainous areas, is proving increasingly popular with consumers. It is traditionally made with ewe, goat or cow milk, leading to a product with high dry matter content (> 90%). In this work, we have characterized three different Klila cheeses made with the three different milks using physico-chemical and microbiological parameters. A triangle test was also performed on naïve consumers, and the three types of Klila were clearly distinguished by sensory analysis. They exhibited distinct features, in particular very low Aw (< 0.5) and pH values (< 4.5) preserving them from pathogens. Lactobacilli and enterococci were counted at low levels (< 4 log (cfu)/g) as well as some spore-forming bacteria (< 3 log (cfu)/g). Colonies were picked from MRS and BEA media. They were identified by sequencing and characterized on their ability to produce lactic acid and using REP-PCR. Lb plantarum was the main species isolated, followed by Pediococcus pentosaceus, Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroïdes and Lactobacillus fermentum. The Enterococcus genus was dominated by Ec durans, Ec faecium and Ec hirae. Among these two main populations, different subgroups were observed by means of the REP-PCR profiles and the lactic acid production of the isolates. Some strains were found in two and even three cheeses. We suppose that these microbes are representative of the environmental context in which Klila is produced.
Key words: Klila, lactic acid bacteria, Algerian traditional cheese, Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus.
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