Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains are a potential threat for food safety because foodborne illness caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has been reported even though these strains were only associated with nosocomial infections until recently. This article focuses on the inhibitory effect of the nisin Z–producing strain Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis IPLA 729 on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus CECT 4013, a methicillin-resistant strain. S. aureus was inhibited by the presence of the nisin producer IPLA 729 in buffered Trypticase soy broth, milk, and Afuega'l Pitu cheese, an acid-coagulated cheese manufactured in Asturias, Northern Spain. A reduction of 3.66 log units was observed in Trypticase soy broth at the end of the incubation period. In milk, viable counts of S. aureus were undetectable or were reduced by 2.16 log units in 24 h depending on the initial inoculum (1.8 × 104 and 7.2 × 106 CFU/ml). The staphylococcal strain was also undetected in test cheeses in which the nisin Z producer was present whereas 2 log units were detected in control cheeses at the end of ripening.

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