Traditional products are particularly appreciated by consumers and among these products, cheese is a major contributor to the Italian mountainous area economics. In this study, shotgun metagenomics and volatilomics were used to understand the biotic and abiotic factors contributing to mountain Caciotta cheese typicity and diversity. Results showed that the origin of cheese played a significant role; however, curd cooking temperature, pH, salt concentration and water activity also had an impact. Viral communities exhibited higher biodiversity and discriminated cheese origins in terms of production farms. Among the most dominant bacteria, Streptococcus thermophilus showed higher intraspecific diversity and closer relationship to production farm when compared to Lactobacillus delbrueckii. However, despite a few cases in which the starter culture was phylogenetically separated from the most dominant strains sequenced in the cheese, starter cultures and dominant cheese strains clustered together suggesting substantial starter colonization in mountain Caciotta cheese. The Caciotta cheese volatilome...

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