L Cocolin, M Manzano, C Cantoni, G Comi
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
In this study, a PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) protocol was used to monitor the dynamic changes in the microbial population during ripening of natural fermented sausages. The method was first optimized by using control strains from international collections, and a natural sausage fermentation was studied by PCR-DGGE and traditional methods. Total microbial DNA and RNA were extracted directly from the sausages and subjected to PCR and reverse transcription-PCR, and the amplicons obtained were analyzed by DGGE. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were present together with other organisms, mainly members of the family Micrococcaceae and meat contaminants, such as Brochothrix thermosphacta and Enterococcus sp., during the first 3 days of fermentation. After 3 days, LAB represented the main population, which was responsible for the acidification and proteolysis that determined the characteristic organoleptic profile of the Friuli Venezia Giulia fermented sausages. The PCR-DGGE protocol for studying sausage fermentation proved to be a good tool for monitoring the process in real time, and it makes technological adjustments possible when they are required.
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