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J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Jan 18;65(2):402-410. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b03844. Epub 2017 Jan 4.

Metabolomic Profiling as a Possible Reverse Engineering Tool for Estimating Processing Conditions of Dry-Cured Hams.

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Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Keio University , Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0052, Japan.
Tohoku Ham , Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0011, Japan.


Dry-cured hams are popular among consumers. To increase the attractiveness of the product, objective analytical methods and algorithms to evaluate the relationship between observable properties and consumer acceptability are required. In this study, metabolomics, which is used for quantitative profiling of hundreds of small molecules, was applied to 12 kinds of dry-cured hams from Japan and Europe. In total, 203 charged metabolites, including amino acids, organic acids, nucleotides, and peptides, were successfully identified and quantified. Metabolite profiles were compared for the samples with different countries of origin and processing methods (e.g., smoking or use of a starter culture). Principal component analysis of the metabolite profiles with sensory properties revealed significant correlations for redness, homogeneity, and fat whiteness. This approach could be used to design new ham products by objective evaluation of various features.


amino acid; dry-cured ham; metabolomics; nucleic acid; organic acid; peptide

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