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Open Access Research article

Metatranscriptome analysis of fungal strains Penicillium camemberti and Geotrichum candidum reveal cheese matrix breakdown and potential development of sensory properties of ripened Camembert-type cheese

Marie-Hélène Lessard1, Catherine Viel1, Brian Boyle2, Daniel St-Gelais13 and Steve Labrie1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), STELA Dairy Research Centre, Université Laval, 2425 rue de l′Agriculture, G1V 0A6, Québec City, QC, Canada

2 Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes (IBIS), Pavillon Charles-Eugène-Marchand, 1030, rue de la Médecine, Université Laval, G1V 0A6, Québec City, QC, Canada

3 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Food Research and Development Centre, 3600 Casavant Blvd. West, Saint Hyacinthe J2S 8E3 QC, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:235  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-235

Published: 26 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Camembert-type cheese ripening is driven mainly by fungal microflora including Geotrichum candidum and Penicillium camemberti. These species are major contributors to the texture and flavour of typical bloomy rind cheeses. Biochemical studies showed that G. candidum reduces bitterness, enhances sulphur flavors through amino acid catabolism and has an impact on rind texture, firmness and thickness, while P. camemberti is responsible for the white and bloomy aspect of the rind, and produces enzymes involved in proteolysis and lipolysis activities. However, very little is known about the genetic determinants that code for these activities and their expression profile over time during the ripening process.

Results

The metatranscriptome of an industrial Canadian Camembert-type cheese was studied at seven different sampling days over 77 days of ripening. A database called CamemBank01was generated, containing a total of 1,060,019 sequence tags (reads) assembled in 7916 contigs. Sequence analysis revealed that 57% of the contigs could be affiliated to molds, 16% originated from yeasts, and 27% could not be identified. According to the functional annotation performed, the predominant processes during Camembert ripening include gene expression, energy-, carbohydrate-, organic acid-, lipid- and protein- metabolic processes, cell growth, and response to different stresses. Relative expression data showed that these functions occurred mostly in the first two weeks of the ripening period.

Conclusions

These data provide further advances in our knowledge about the biological activities of the dominant ripening microflora of Camembert cheese and will help select biological markers to improve cheese quality assessment.