This study aims at proposing the use of Arthrospira platensis, commonly known as Spirulina, extract as a non-invasive method to attenuate the growth rate of non-starter adjunct cultures, thus preventing the over-acidification that may occur during cheese manufacturing. A preliminary screening using four different concentrations (0.20%, 0.30%, 0.50%, and 0.70%) of A. platensis extract and four starter and three non-starter lactic acid bacteria strains was performed by impedometric analysis. This allowed us to select one starter and one non-starter strain to be used in the in vitro simulation of a co-culture in milk with the best antimicrobial concentration (0.3%). The growth dynamics of the two selected strains, starter Lactococcus lactis 1426 and non-sarter Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus 1473, co-cultured for 120 h was monitored by three different approaches: (i) plate counting on M17, for the enumeration of lactococci, and MRS for lactobacilli; (ii) fluorescence microscopic counting of viable and non-viable coccoid Lactococcus lactis 1426 and rod-shaped Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus 1473 cells; (iii) the overall estimation of co-culture growth behavior by impedometric parameters Lag, Rate, and yEnd. All the data obtained from the in vitro simulation were in agreement, revealing that a slowdown of non-starter growth occurred, while the starter strain was not affected, or slightly stimulated, from the antimicrobial presence. In particular, the growth of Lb. rhamnosus 1473 was delayed without adversely compromise the cells’ integrity, connected with metabolic functions, showing a great potential for use in cheese production.
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