A statistical comparison of the spiral plate count (SPLPC) and the standard plate count (SPC) methods for enumeration of microorganisms in raw goat's milk cheese throughout its manufacturing and ripening was carried out. Enumeration of mesophiles, lactic acid bacteria (presumptive lactococci, presumptive leuconostocs, and presumptive lactobacilli), Micrococcaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and molds and yeasts was carried out for milk, curd, and 2-, 5-, 10-, 17-, and 27-day-old cheeses. Average counts for the SPLPC and SPC methods differed by less than half of a log cycle for all microbial groups studied (range of difference, −0.1386 [mesophiles] to +0.4397 [presumptive lactobacilli]). The results of the SPLPC method compared favorably with the results of the SPC procedure for mesophiles, presumptive lactococci, presumptive leuconostocs, Enterobacteriaceae, and molds and yeasts (the variance between replicate platings was close to 0.005, and correlation coefficients were >0.9). Correlation coefficients were lower for Micrococcaceae (r = 0.824) and presumptive lactobacilli (r = 0.670). Analysis of variance showed that the plating method was a significant factor (P < 0.05) for presumptive lactobacilli counts. In general, results from the SPLPC method compared favorably with results from SPC procedure in the enumeration of microorganisms in goat cheese throughout its manufacturing and ripening processes. However, the suitability of the SPLPC method depends mainly on the microbial group studied.

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