Chapter

Molecular Techniques in the Microbial Ecology of Fermented Foods

Part of the series Food Microbiology and Food Safety pp 31-90

Dairy Products

  • Salvatore CoppolaAffiliated withSchool of Agriculture, Department of Food Science Portici, University of Naples Federico II
  • , Giuseppe BlaiottaAffiliated withSchool of Agriculture, Department of Food Science Portici, University of Naples Federico II
  • , Danilo ErcoliniAffiliated withSchool of Agriculture, Department of Food Science Portici, University of Naples Federico II

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Approaches for studying microorganisms in food have undoubtedly changed. Advances in molecular biology have provided more information on food-associated bacteria, and have also provided the scientific community with sound, reliable and effective methods for detection, identification and typing of microorganisms from food. The main interest of dairy microbiologists is to study the diversity and dynamics of microorganisms in dairy productions and, possibly, to correlate the occurrence of certain microbial species and strains with desired flavor and sensorial traits of the products. Various molecular methods can be used depending on the level of information required by research. Microbiologists can be interested in identification, detection or typing of bacteria from a certain environment. Identification and detection can benefit from the availability of both culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques, whereas typing is an analysis performed on isolates and is, thus, strictly related to culture-dependent methods. The aim of this chapter is to describe how dairy microbiologists have made use of such advanced techniques to provide new insights in the study of the microbial ecology associated to dairy fermentation.