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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Aug;51(7):691-703. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.582813.

Biogenic amines in dairy products.

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Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias (IPLA-CSIC), 33300, Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain.


Biogenic amines (BA) are organic, basic, nitrogenous compounds with biological activity, mainly formed by the decarboxylation of amino acids. BA are present in a wide range of foods, including dairy products, and can accumulate in high concentrations. In some cheeses more than 1000 mg of BA have been detected per kilogram of cheese. The consumption of food containing large amounts of these amines can have toxicological consequences. Although there is no specific legislation regarding the BA content in dairy products, it is generally assumed that they should not be allowed to accumulate. Greater knowledge of the factors involved in the synthesis and accumulation of BA should lead to a reduction in their incidence in foods. This article focuses on the factors that affect BA production, in particular environmental conditions, the microorganisms that produce them, the genetic organization and regulation of the biosynthetic pathways involved, and the available methods for detecting the presence of BA or BA-producing microorganisms in dairy products.

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