Sheep’s milk and cheese represent unexplored reservoirs of microorganisms’ genetic and metabolic diversity. This study aimed to characterize the microbial communities of milk and cheese from sheep of Lacaune breed, produced in the South Region of Brazil. Milk samples (n = 15) from three dairy farms and four types of cheese (fresh, colonial, feta-type, and pecorino-type; n = 20) were subjected to partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Streptococcus spp. and Lactobacillus spp. were the dominant taxa (core microbiota) of cheeses, while Phyllobacterium spp. and Staphylococcus spp. were the most prevalent genera in milk. Regarding milk samples, no differences in alpha diversity were observed between the analyzed farms. However, beta diversity analysis revealed that milk collected on Farm 1 differed from the others. These differences may be associated with sheep feeding, mammary gland diseases, and the milking practices used. Upon analyzing cheese samples, significant differences in both alpha and beta diversities were observed between the different cheese types, suggesting that processing and maturation conditions are important for shaping cheese microbiota. Notably, other bacterial groups including decomposers and potentially pathogenic microorganisms to humans were observed in some of the analyzed cheeses. This study expands our knowledge of the bacterial composition of sheep’s milk and cheese found in different geographic regions.
Research and Innovation Coordinator at the SENAI SC University Center. She holds a degree in Food Technology from the National Service for Industrial Learning in Chapecó (2012), an MBA in Food Safety Management from the National Service for Industrial Learning in Florianópolis (2015), a Master’s in Food Science and Technology from the University of Passo Fundo (2015). She is currently a PhD student in Food Science and Technology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). She has experience as a professor, consultant and researcher in the area of Food Science and Technology, with emphasis on milk and dairy technology, development of new products, consulting for companies in Good Manufacturing Practices, food analysis and implementation of a Good Manufacturing Practices Manual and Standardized Operating Procedure. She has two awards for outstanding teacher in Higher Education at the State Level, four State-level and two National-level awards for innovative product development. She participated in FAPESC NASCER program for pre-incubation of innovative ideas and was awarded 1st place as the best Pitch.