Italian Salami: Survey of Traditional Italian Salami, Their Manufacturing Techniques, and Main Chemical and Microbiological Traits
Salami are food products manufactured with pork, beef, or veal, added with salt, spices, and sometimes herbs and/or other ingredients. The use of additives (preservatives) is also allowed in certain cases. Meat, cut into pieces or minced, is traditionally stuffed into natural casings made from cleaned gut turned inside-out, which gives the product its characteristic cylindrical shape. Today, natural gut can be replaced by synthetic casings made of collagen, cellulose, or even plastic, especially in the case of salami manufactured in industrial plants. Salami manufacturing is a very ancient strategy for the conservation of meat by fermentation, salting, drying, and, possibly, smoking. The composition of the bacterial population carrying out the fermentation has a key role in the determination of the sensory characteristics. These microbiota mainly include lactic acid bacteria (LAB), coagulase-negative cocci (CNC), coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (Rantsiou and Cocolin 2006), and, to a lesser extent, yeasts and molds (Cook, 1995). The contribution of LAB to “avor is primarily due to their acidifying activity and to the production of volatile compounds through the fermentation of carbohydrates (Urso et al. 2006), while CNC and CNS participate in color stabilization, decomposition of peroxides, proteolysis, and lipolysis (Iacumin et al. 2006). The fermentation is a key phase of the curing process of salami, since at this stage, the main physical, microbiological, and biochemical transformations take place (Villani et al. 2007). These transformations can be summarized as follows: change of the composition of the meat micro“ora, drop in pH, reduction of nitrates to nitrites and of nitrites to nitric oxide, formation of nitrosomyoglobin, solubilization and geli…cation of protein fractions, lipolysis, proteolysis, oxidation of organic compounds, and dehydration (Casaburi et al. 2007).