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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 412714, 13 pages
Review Article

Impact on Human Health of Microorganisms Present in Fermented Dairy Products: An Overview

1Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IPLA-CSIC), Paseo Río Linares s/n, Villaviciosa, 33300 Asturias, Spain
2Food Safety Programme, ESR-Christchurch Science Centre, Christchurch 8540, New Zealand
3Food and Environment Safety Programme, The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, UK
4Medical Nutrition Physiology Group, Pharmacology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland

Received 26 May 2014; Accepted 4 September 2014

Academic Editor: Mikihiro Fujiya

Copyright © 2015 María Fernández et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fermented dairy products provide nutrients in our diet, some of which are produced by the action of microorganisms during fermentation. These products can be populated by a diverse microbiota that impacts the organoleptic and physicochemical characteristics foods as well as human health. Acidification is carried out by starter lactic acid bacteria (LAB) whereas other LAB, moulds, and yeasts become dominant during ripening and contribute to the development of aroma and texture in dairy products. Probiotics are generally part of the nonstarter microbiota, and their use has been extended in recent years. Fermented dairy products can contain beneficial compounds, which are produced by the metabolic activity of their microbiota (vitamins, conjugated linoleic acid, bioactive peptides, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, among others). Some microorganisms can also release toxic compounds, the most notorious being biogenic amines and aflatoxins. Though generally considered safe, fermented dairy products can be contaminated by pathogens. If proliferation occurs during manufacture or storage, they can cause sporadic cases or outbreaks of disease. This paper provides an overview on the current state of different aspects of the research on microorganisms present in dairy products in the light of their positive or negative impact on human health.