• Sepet cheese;
  • Microbiological count;
  • Identification;
  • Lactic acid bacteria

Microbial diversity in milk and in cheese itself affects the biochemical and sensory characteristics of artisanal cheeses. In this study, the microflora of Sepet cheese, which is a traditional artisanal cheese in Turkey, was investigated. Average lactococci, lactobacilli, enterococci, yeast, mould, coliform, psychrotrophic and total aerobic bacteria, presumptive Staphylococcus aureus counts were; 7.31 ± 1.08, 7.19 ± 1.02, 6.84 ± 0.92, 3.19 ± 1.40, 0.84 ± 0.89, 2.18 ± 1.81, 4.92 ± 1.15, 7.53 ± 1.13 and 1.25 ± 1.70 log cfu/g, respectively. Staphylococci, coliform and mould counts were less than 1.00 log cfu/g at the end of ripening, which was at around 6–8 °C for 3 months. According to phenotypic and genotypic identifications, isolates were closely related to Lactobacillus plantarum, Weisella confusa, Weisella paramesenteroides, Pediococcus pentasaceous, Enterococcus casseliflavus, Enterococcus durans and Enterococcus faceium. This study provides baseline data on the microflora of traditional artisanal Sepet cheese, which is a prerequisite for a successful scale up to industrial production.