The impact of a Lactobacillus sakei strain on the sensory characteristics of "soppressata molisana", a typical Southern Italian dry sausage, was investigated. The strain, previously isolated from sausage produced by traditional means, was selected for its high acidifying ability. The volatiles were extracted using the Lickens-Nickerson apparatus immediately after filling, at the end of ripening and after 3 months of storage in pork fat and then analysed by GC/MS. The gas chromatographic profiles showed the influence of the starter culture on the volatile fraction. Some nitrogen and sulphur compounds were found only during storage of the inoculated samples. The results suggest that the use of an appropriate starter culture can influence the aroma characteristics and the microbiological quality of such typical fermented meats.
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