Hot topic: A new hope for salami production

Penicillium salamii strain ITEM 15302

Penicillium nalgiovense was the first reported atoxigenic and technologically suitable fungal species for the seasoning process of meat products (Mintzlaff and Leistner, 1972). Since then, Penicillium species, in particular P. nalgiovense, and to a lesser extent Penicillium chrysogenum, are the typical starter culture species spread on the casing of dry-fermented sausages to improve and standardize salami quality. However, almost everyone thinks that traditional sausages are of superior quality to sausages inoculated with commercial starter cultures and this is partially due to the action of the typical house microflora.


Fig. 1

Recently a new species, Penicillium salamii, was described as typical colonizer during salami seasoning. In order to understand its contribution to the seasoning process, Donato Magistà and his team conducted different experiments on curing of fresh pork sausages using P. salamii ITEM 15302 in comparison with P. nalgiovense ITEM 15292 at small and industrial scale.
The differences found in fungal colonization rate after inoculation demonstrated the better adhesion of P. salamii ITEM 15302 conidia on casing surface after inoculation, in addition, P. salamii ITEM 15302 mycelium produced a more attractive white/light green color that consumers would prefer (fig 1). In terms of taste, the sensory profile of sausages seasoned with P. salamii ITEM 15302 was comparable to P. nalgiovense ITEM 15292, the highest significant scores were recorded for the samples inoculated with P. salamii ITEM 15302. In particular, there were significant differences for some attributes such as intensity of odor, spiciness, and persistence. In contrast, no differences were observed in terms of taste and texture.
Some authors suggested that proteolytic and lipolytic activity, occurring during the maturation of dry-cured meat products, are only due to the endogenous enzyme activity of meat (Zhou and Zhao, 2007) and internal yeasts and bacteria (Casaburi et al., 2008; Casado et al., 2011); however, the active role of proteolytic and lipolytic activities exerted by moulds growing on the surface during seasoning have been also demonstrated (Toledo et al., 1997; Selgas et al., 1999; García et al., 2001).
The higher enzymatic activity of P. salamii ITEM 15302 measured in both lipolytic and proteolytic plate assays could support the superior sensory profiles perceived in dry-cured sausages inoculated with P. salamii ITEM 15302, compared to those inoculated with P. nalgiovense ITEM 15292.
P. salamii ITEM 15302 proved to be a fast growing mould on dry-cured sausage casings, well adapted to the seasoning process, with high lipolytic and proteolytic enzymatic activity that confers typical sensory characteristics to meat products. Therefore, P. salamii ITEM 15302 was shown to be a good candidate as new starter for meat industry.

by J.J. Gallego

Original paper:
Penicillium salamii strain ITEM 15302: A new promising fungal starter for salami production
D. Magistà a, ⁎, M. Ferrara a , M.A. Del Nobile b , D. Gammariello b , A. Conte b , G. Perrone a a Institute of Sciences of Food Production (ISPA), National Research Council (CNR), Bari, Italy b Department of Agricultural Sciences, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy
Casaburi, A., Di Monaco, R., Cavella, S., Toldrá, F., Ercolini, D., Villani, F., 2008. Proteolytic and lipolytic starter cultures and their effect on traditional fermented sausages ripening and sensory traits. Food Microbiol. 25 (2), 335–347.
Casado, E.M., Córdoba, J.J., Andrade, M.J., Rodríguez, M., 2011. Design of a method to evaluate yeasts to be used as starter cultures in dry-cured meat products. Czech J. Food Sci. 29, 463–470
García, M.L., Casas, C., Toledo, V.M., Selgas, M.D., 2001. Effect of selected mould strains in the sensory properties of dry fermented sausages. Eur. Food Res. Technol. 212 (3), 287–291.
Toledo, V.M., Selgas, M.D., Casas, M.C., García, M.L., Ordóñez, J.A., 1997. Effect of selected mould strains on proteolysis in dry fermented sausages. Zeitschrift Lebensmitteluntersuchung Forschung A 204 (5), 385–390.
Mintzlaff, H.J., Leistner, L., 1972. Untersuchungen zur Selektion eines technologisch geeigneten und toxiologish unbedenklichen Schimmelpilz-stammes für die Rohwurst-Herstellung. Zeitblatt Veterinär Medicin B Vol. 19, pp. 291–300.
Selgas, M.D., Casas, C., Toledo, V.M., García, M.L., 1999. Effect of selected mould strains on lipolysis in dry fermented sausages. Eur. Food Res. Technol. 209 (5), 360–365.

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