Relationship between somatic cell count in goat milk and mature Kashkaval cheese parameters
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It is challenging to ensure Kashkaval cheese consistent quality during the production process which is directly correlated to the somatic cell count (SCC) and bacterial presence. This is one of the most popular and widely discussed topic areas in the dairy industry. SCC is used to limit the inflammatory process and to predict the health status of the animal’s mammary glands. The objective of this study was to evaluate the quality characteristics of mature Kashkaval cheese was produced from goat milk with different SCC (below 1,200 thous cells mL-1 - group I (low), above 1,750 thous cells mL-1 - group II (high) and up to 1,600 thous cells mL-1 - group III (medium)) and samples were evaluated on the 1st and 60th day of ripening by chemical, microbiological and sensory profile. The results showed a significant relation (P < 0.05) between the levels of SCC and Kashkaval cheese water content during ripening. For all analysed samples, the total lactic acid bacterial count was the highest between the 15th and 45th day of ripening and reached values up to 6.0 log cfu g -1 . Pathogenic microorganisms (Listeria monocytogenes, Coagulase-positive staphylococci) and coliforms were not detected. The highest number of psychrotrophic microorganisms was observed in Kashkaval samples with high SCC. The sensory evaluation revealed a higher score for cheese samples with low and medium SCC in comparison to the cheese sample with a high SCC.