Bouhezza, a traditional Algerian raw milk cheese, made and ripened in goatskin bags

Ouarda Aissaoui Zitoun 1*, Concetta Pediliggieri 2, Leila Benatallah 1, Sylvie Lortal 3, Giuseppe Licitra 2, Mohammed Nasreddine Zidoune 1 and Stefania Carpino 2

1 – Laboratoire de Nutrition et de Technologie Alimentaire (L. N. T. A.)-I. N. A. T. A-A. Université Mentouri de Constantine, Route de Ain El Bey, Algeria.
2- CoRFiLaC, Regione Siciliana, Ragusa 97100, Italy
3 – INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, UMR1253, Science et Technologie du Lait et de l’Oeuf, 65 Rue de Saint-Brieuc, F-35000 Rennes, France.


Bouhezza is a traditional Algerian ripened cheese made in goatskin bags. The aim of this study was to characterise the chemical composition and proteolysis of Bouhezza as well as the microbial ecosystems that are present in this cheese using numerations and PCR-TTGE profiles. The microstructure of the cheese was also observed using confocal microscopy. Two different batches of Bouhezza were processed in parallel according to the traditional procedure using raw cow milk; analyses were performed on cheese samples at 7, 15, 21, 42, 56 and 70 days of ripening. Total solids, fat and proteins increased during longer cheese-making and ripening times. The Bouhezza structure following the addition of milk was characterised by proteinic aggregates organised in an open space matrix in which lipids and whey are entrapped. The urea-PAGE results showed that extensive primary proteolysis occurs, particularly on as-casein. The bacterial ecosystem of Bouhezza cheese was essentially formed by the indigenous lactic acid bacteria, and a mixture of Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Leuconostoc cremoris/Ln. Mesenteroides species was observed. In addition, two unidentified bands above Lb. plantarum were present as well as a few high GC-species.
Key words: Bouhezza ripening, proteolysis, ecosystem, raw milk, PCR-TTGE.

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Ouarda Aissaoui Zitoun

Prof. Université Mentouri de Constantine, Algeria

Stefania Carpino

Dir. Ricerca CoRFiLaC