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ABSTRACT: In this study the bacterial biodiversity, during the maturation process of traditional sausages (Salame Mantovano), produced with two different kinds of casing (hog middle or "Crespone" and hog bung or "Gentile"), was investigated by means of culture-dependent and -independent methods. In order to assess the natural variability linked to the type of casing used in production, the ingredients, as well as ripening conditions, were identical in both productions. The aim of the study was to understand the contribution of casing microflora during sausage ripening by identifying the dominant species and strains. The bacterial ecology of casings and salami at different ripening stages, as determined by plating, revealed higher staphylococci and enterococci counts for Gentile casing and for the entire ripening period of the salami studied. After molecular identification of 219 Lactobacilli and 225 cocci gram positive catalase positive (GPCP) isolates, the species most frequently isolated were Lactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus curvatus, Staphylococcus xylosus, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus. Some L. sakei and S. saprophyticus strains, coming from casing, were also found in the salami at different times of ripening. A richer biodiversity was only detected at the beginning of maturation. We also report the first detection, by PCR-DGGE method, of Arcobacter marinus and Brochothrix thermosphacta species in casings and Kokuria salsicia in fresh sausage. Results suggesting that casing can be an important source of bacteria during natural fermentation when starter cultures are not used.
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Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Milano, Lombardy, Italy