Physicochemical and microbiological study of “shmen”, a traditional butter made from camel milk in the Sahara (Algeria): isolation and identification of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts


  • Kacem Mourad Laboratoire de Biologie des Microorganismes et Biotechnologie, Faculté des Sciences Département de Biotechnologie, Université d’Es Senia
  • Karam Nour-Eddine Laboratoire de Biologie des Microorganismes et Biotechnologie, Faculté des Sciences Département de Biotechnologie, Université d’Es Senia



Camel milk, Lactic acid bacteria, Traditional butter, Yeast


Microorganisms (aerobic bacteria, coliforms, lactic acid bacteria, psychrotrophs, lipolytic bacteria and yeasts) were isolated from 20 samples of shmen, a traditional clarified butter made from sour camel milk in the Algerian Sahara. The values of pH, titratable acidity, NaCl, total solid, moisture, and fat content ranged from : 3.11-4.97, 0.19-0.36%, 1.04-2.15%, 64.03-65.11%, 34.40-34.99%, and 49.90-56% respectively. A total of 181 isolates of lactic acid bacteria were identified as Lactobacillus plantarum (40 strains), Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus (35 strains), Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis biovar diacetylacti (22 strains), Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris (18 strains), Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei (10 strains),  Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides (9 strains) and Leuconostoc gelidum (12 strains) Enterococcus faecium (35 strains). Yeasts were isolated from all samples (55 isolates). Of these, 40 were identified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and 15 isolates were identified as Saccharomyces sp.


Download data is not yet available.


Abd-El-Malek, Y. 1987. Traditional Egyptian dairy fermentations. In Stantan, W.R., Da Silva, E. J. (Eds), Global impact of food Microbiology (GIAM)- State of the Art: GIAM and Relevalence to Development in Developing Contries. University of Malaya Press, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 198-208.

Abou-Donia S. A. 2002. Recent development in Ras cheese research: a review. Egypt. J. Dairy Sci, 30, 155-166.

ACNFP. 1996) Report on Enterococcus faecium strain K77D. MAFF Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, Report, Ergon House c/o Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1 3JR, UK.

Anonymous (1960). Determination of moisture content butter. Fil-IDF Standard 10, Brussels.

Anonymous. 1969. Determination of salt (Sodium Chloride) content butter. Fil-IDF Standard 12A, Brussels.

Anonymous (1977). Butter production of water, solid-nonfat and fat contents on the same test portion. Fil-IDF Standard 80, Brussels.

Ashenafi M. 1996. Effect of container smoking and incubation temperature on the microbiological and some biochemical qualities of fermenting Ergo, a traditional Ethiopian sour milk. Int. Dairy.J. 6, 96-104. doi:10.1016/0958-6946(94)00037-9

Ayad E. H. E., Nashat S., El-Sadek N., Metwaly H., El- Soda M. 2004. Selection of wild lactic acid bacteria isolated from traditional Egyptian dairy products according to production and technological criteria. Food Microbiol, 21, 715-725. doi:10.1016/

Barnett J. A., Payne R. W., Yarrow D. 1990. Yeasts: characteristics and identification. C. U. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Benkerroum, N., Tamime A.Y. 2004). Technology transfer of some Moroccan traditional dairy products (lben, jben and smen) to small industrial scale., Food Microbiol. 65, 1-15.

Bilgin B. 1996) A research on the determination of some sensory, physical, chemical and microbiological properties during the storage period of butter produced by souring with sweet and four different culture combinaisons. Ph. D. Thesis Trakya University, Tekirdag-Turkey.

Centeno J. A., Menéndez S., Rodriguez-Otero J. L 1996. Main microbial flora present as natural starters in Cebreiro raw cow’s-milk cheese (Northwest Spain). Int. Food Microbiol. 33, 307-313. doi:10.1016/0168-1605(96)01165-8

Coppola S., Parente E., Dumontet S., La Peccerella A. 1988. The microflora of natural whey cultures utilized as starters in the manufacture of Mozzarella cheese from water-buffalo milk. Lait. 68, 295-310. doi:10.1051/lait:1988319

Dave R. I., Shah N. P. 1997. Viability of yoghurt and probiotic bacteria in yoghurt made from commercial starter cultures. Int. Dairy J. 7, 31-41. doi:10.1016/S0958-6946(96)00046-5

De Man, J.C., Rogosa, M., Sharpe E.M. 1960. A medium for the cultivation of lactobacilli. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 23, 130-135.

Devriese L. A., Van de Kerckhove A., Kilpper-Bälz, R., Schleifer K. H. 1987. Characterization and identification of Enterococcus species isolated from the intestines of animals. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 37, 257-259

Dwiedi H. B., Kushwaha S. 1972. A note on the microflora of Desi butter. Indian. J. Anim. Sci. 42, 193-198.

El Gendy S. M. 2001. Some traditional fermented dairy products in Egypt. Proceeding f the Eighth Egyptian conference for Dairy Science and Technology, Cairo, Egypt, November 3-5, Egypt, J. Dairy Sci. 465-479.

El Marrakchi A., Tantaoui-Elaraki A. El Mane A.,Tifrit L. 1988a. La flore microbienne du smen marocains. I, Flore naturelle et flore d’intérêt hygiénique. Le Lait. 68, 205-218. doi:10.1051/lait:1988214

El Marrakchi, A., Tantaoui-Elaraki A., Hamama A., Grini A. 1988b. La flore microbienne du smen marocains. II, Flores lipolytique et casènolyque. Le Lait. 68, 333- 348. doi:10.1051/lait:1988322

El Sadek G. M., Teama Z. Y., Khalafalla S. M., Sultan N. E. 1975. Compositional properties of market butter in Egypt. Milchwissenschaft, 30, 354-356.

FAO. 1990. Importance, technology and economics of traditional milk products. In: FAO Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Filkensen W. E. 1987. Production proportions and product quality. Nordisk Mejeriindustr 14, 414-416.

Garcia, M. C., Oteco A., Garcia M. L., Moreno B. 1987. Microbiological quality and composition of two types of Spanish sheep’s milk cheeses (Manchego and Burgos varieties). J. Dairy Res. 54, 551-557.

Garvie E. I. 1986. Genus Leuconostoc. In : Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, 9th edn (Eds P. H.A. Sneath, N.S. Mair, M.E. Sharp, J.G. Holt). The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore MD, USA. pp. 1071-1075.

Gast M., Mauboisj, L., Adda, J. 1969. Le lait et les produits laitiers en Ahaggar. Centre Rech. Anthr. Prehist. Ethn.

Gonfa A. Fite A., Urga K., Gashe B. A. 1999. The microbiological aspects of ergo (ititu) fermentation. SINET: Ethiop. J. Sci. 22, 2-6.

Gonfa A., Foeter H. A, Holzapfel W. H. 2001. Field survey and literature review on traditional fermented milk products of Ethiopia. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 68, 173- 186. doi:10.1016/S0168-1605(01)00492-5

Hankin L., Hanna J. G. 1983. Quality of butter and blends of butter with oleomargarine. Dairy Food Sanitation 3, 458-460.

Harrigan W. F, McCance M. E. 1966. Laboratory Methods in Microbiology, p. 362, London and New York, Academic press.

Hayaloglu A. A. 1999. A comparative study on physicochemical, microbiological and organoleptic qualities of butter produced from cream and yoghurt in Malatya region M. Sc. Thesis p. 74, Cukurova University, Istitute of Natural and Applied Sciences, Adana, Turkey.

Hukari I., Rautavaara K. 1972. Enterococci as indicators of microbiological quality of butter. Karjantuote 55, 56- 57.

Idoui T. 1994. Purification, caractérisation et identification de souches de bactéries lactiques isolées du beurre traditionnel local (Jijel). Etude de quelques aptitudes technologiques, inhibitions interbactériennes. Reconstitution de levains lactiques mésophiles.» Thèse, d’Ingenieur d’Etat en Science Agronomique Option : Technologie Alimentaire et Nutrition), l’INFSA, Mostaganem, pp. 1-123.

James C. S. 1995. Analytical Chemestry of Food. Oxford, Chapman & Hall.

Kacem M. 2005. Bactéries lactiques d’Algérie: Isolement, identification et caractéristiques technologiques. Bactériocines produites par Lactococcus lactis et Lactobacillus plantarum. Thèse de Doctorat d’état p. 281, Université d’Oran.

Kacem M., Zadi-Karam H., Karam N.E.(2003. Identification of lactic acid bacteria isolated from milk and olive oil in western Algeria. Actes Inst. Agrono. Vet. (Maroc) 23, 135-141.

Kandler, O., Weiss, N. 1986. Regular, nonsporing Gram positive rods. Genus Lactobacillus. In Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Vol. 2, Edited by P. H.A. Sneath, N.S. Mair, M.E. Sharp, J.G. Holt, The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore MD, USA. pp. 1208-1234.

Karahan A. G. 1992. Obtaining high level diacetyl producer mutants from Streptococcus diacetylactis and determination their phage sensitivity vs wild strains, Ph.D. Thesis, p. 118, Ankara University, Graduate School of Natural, and Applied Sciences, Ankara, Turkey.

Karam N., Zadi-Karam H. 1994 Isolement et caractérisation de bactéries lactiques de laits cruz d’Algérie. In Alimentation, Génétique et Santé de L’enfant, Eds. J. F. Desjeux et M. Touhami, L’Ht. pp. 257-264.

Karam, N. 1995. Constitution d’un souchier de bactéries lactiques à intérêt biotechnologique: Etude Biochimique et Moléculaire . Thèse de Doctorat d’état p. 212, Université d’Oran.

Kornacki J. L., R. S. Flowers 1998. Microbiology of butter and related products. In Appl. Dairy Microbiol., New York, Marcel Dekker Inc. pp. 325-331.

Kreger-van Rij N. J. W. 1984. Yeasts”. Third revised and enlarged edition, Elsevier Science Publishers Amsterdam. Maret R., Sozzi T. (976. Lactic flora in Swiss Alpine cheesemaking. Lait 56, 304-318.

Mundt, J. O. 1986. Lactic acid streptococci. in Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Vol. 2, (Eds, PHA Sneath, N. S. Mair and M. E. Sharp, J. G. Holt). The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore MD, USA. pp. 1264-1251.

O’Connor C. B., Mezgebu S., Zewde Z. 1993. Improving the efficiency of butter making in Ethiopia. FAO World Anim. Rev., 50-53.

O’Mahony F., Bekele E. 1985. Traditional butter making in Ethiopia and possible improvements. ILCA Bull. 22, 9- 14.

Ozalp E., Tekinsen O. C. Ozalp G., hamzaçebi Y. 1980. Studies on the preparation of the Turkish butter starters. Research Fund of Veterinarian Medicine, Project Number 322, Turkey.

Parente E., Villani F., Coppola R., Coppola S. 1989. A multiple strain starter for water-buffalo Mozzarella cheese manufacture. Lait 69, 271-279. doi:10.1051/lait:1989421

Sagdic O. Arici M, Simsek O. 2002. Selection of starters for traditional Turkish yayik butter made from yoghurt. Food Microbiol., 19, 303-312. doi:10.1006/fmic.2002.0489

Schieberle, P., K. Gassenmeier, H. Guth, A. S., Grosch W. 1993. Character impact odor componds of different kinds of butter. Lebensm. Wiss.Technol., 26, 347-356. doi:10.1006/fstl.1993.1070

Schillinger, U., Lücke F.K. 1989. antibacterial activity of Lb. sake isolated from meat. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 55, 1901-1906.

Tasnim K, Khalid R., Yaqub C. M. 1993. Microbiological status of different varieties of butter. Sci. Int. 5, 81-83.

Terzaghi, B. E., Sandine W. E. 1975. Improved medium for lactic streptococci and their bacteriophages. J. Appl. Bacteriol. 29, 807-813.

Ubach T. H. 1986. Microbiological qualitiy of Spanish butter and margarines. Ann. Bromatol. 37, 307-313.

Wouters J. T. M., Ayad E. H. E., Hugenholtz J., Smith G. 2002. Microbes from raw milk for fermented dairy products. Int. Dairy J. 12, 91-109. doi:10.1016/S0958-6946(01)00151-0

Zadi-Karam H. 1998. Bactéries lactiques isolées de latí de Camelus dromedarius: Etude microbiologique et biochimique, Caractéristiques technologiques, Elaboration de ferments lactiques mésophiles et fabrication de fromages. Thèse de Doctorat d’Etat. Université de Constantine, Algérie, pp. 205.

Zhao T. Doyle M. P. and Berg D. E. 2000. Fate of Campylobacter jejuni in butter. J. Food Prot. 63, 120- 122.




How to Cite

Mourad K, Nour-Eddine K. Physicochemical and microbiological study of “shmen”, a traditional butter made from camel milk in the Sahara (Algeria): isolation and identification of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. Grasas aceites [Internet]. 2006Jun.30 [cited 2024May23];57(2):198-204. Available from: