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Meat Sci. 2008 Jun;79(2):224-35. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2007.09.006. Epub 2007 Sep 15.

Comparison of the compositional, microbiological, biochemical and volatile profile characteristics of three Italian PDO fermented sausages.

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Department of Plant Protection and Applied Microbiology, University of Bari, via G. Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy.


Three Italian PDO fermented sausages, Varzi, Brianza and Piacentino, were compared for compositional, microbiological, biochemical and volatile profile characteristics. Mean values for the gross composition varied especially due to moisture, fat, total protein and nitrate concentration which reflected differences in the ingredients and some technological parameters. Cell numbers of the major microbial groups were almost similar among sausages. The major differences were found for Brochothrix thermosphacta, enterococci and moulds. Apart from their use as starters, Lactobacillus sakei and Lactobacillus curvatus were the dominant lactic acid bacteria and, as well as Staphylococcus xylosus, dominated the population of coagulase-negative staphylococci. Sausages differed for the hydrolysis of myofibrillar proteins and secondary proteolysis. Varzi, the sausage subjected to prolonged fermentation at 23-25°C for 10 days before ripening, showed the highest degree of secondary proteolysis. Varzi and Brianza, the two fermented sausages manufactured by using microbial starters, showed the highest concentration and similar profiles of free amino acids. The peptidase activities contained in the aqueous extracts agreed with the above findings. A total of 52 volatile components, mainly alcohols, aldehydes and terpenes, were identified by solid-phase micro-extraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. The volatile profiles of the three Italian PDO fermented sausages differed in part and, except for terpenes, the highest levels of the other chemical classes were found in Varzi and Brianza sausages. The composition of free fatty acids of the three Italian PDO sausages was rather similar. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) were found at the highest relative percentage followed by saturated (SFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids. Oleic, palmitic, linoleic and stearic were the main free fatty acids found in all fermented sausages.

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