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Meat Sci. 2014 Jan;96(1):288-94. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Jul 20.

Characterization and differentiation of Italian Parma, San Daniele and Toscano dry-cured hams: a multi-disciplinary approach.

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Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 2, 20133, Milano, Italy. Electronic address:


This study aimed at characterizing the sensory quality of Italian PDO dry-cured Parma, San Daniele and Toscano hams, applying a multi-disciplinary approach. Ham sensory profile as well as physico-chemical, aromatic, morphological and textural characteristics was investigated. There was a great difference between Toscano ham and Parma and San Daniele hams, which were more similar even though differentiated. Toscano ham showed higher scores for pork-meat odor, saltiness, dryness, fibrousness and hardness; accordingly, this ham was described by a high NaCl content and by high values of instrumental hardness, cohesiveness, gumminess and chewiness. Parma ham was characterized by a cured flavor, whereas San Daniele ham showed a wider fatty area and higher pH values. Parma and San Daniele hams were also described by higher values of sweetness, RGB color values and water activity. Sensory characteristics evaluated by trained assessors were correlated to instrumental measures, indicating that instrumental devices can be effectively applied for dry-cured ham characterization.


Dry-cured hams; Electronic nose; Image-analysis; PDO; Sensory evaluation; Texture analysis

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