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Ecology of moulds during the pre-ripening and ripening of San Daniele dry cured ham

Comi, Giuseppe, Iacumin, Lucilla
Food research international 2013 v.54 no.1 pp. 1113-1119
Aspergillus niger, Meyerozyma guilliermondii, Penicillium, air, ecology, ham, health hazards, ochratoxin A, toxicity, yeasts
The aim of this work was to study the ecology of moulds and their toxic potential during the pre-ripening or ripening of San Daniele dry cured ham. Three different facilities and their products were investigated. These facilities were chosen on the basis of their production capacity: one for industrial production, one for semi-industrial production and one for handicraft production. The mould microflora was predominantly represented by 2 genera, which were found either on the surface of dry cured ham or in the air of the production rooms. The identified species were quite similar among the three facilities. Penicillium spp. and Aspergillus spp. were the main genera isolated during the duration of pre-ripening and ripening. The toxic potential of the isolated strains and the presence of Ochratoxin A (OTA) on the surface of or in San Daniele dry cured ham were also investigated. No OTA was found either on the surface (mould slime) or in the meat of the investigated hams. Moreover, no OTA-producing moulds, with the exception of Aspergillus niger, were isolated. However, different yeast and mould strains were tested for the ability to inhibit the growth of OTA producing moulds. Penicillium nalgiovense, Candida guilliermondii and Endomycopsis fibuliger prevented the growth of co-inoculated OTA producing moulds, and no OTA was detected on the surface of the dry cured ham. Thus, it appears that San Daniele dry cured ham does not represent a health hazard.