The work reports a case study describing how the competition wild microflora vs. starter cultures affects the final product characteristics. This study regards an industrial lot of Ventricina, an Italian long-ripened traditional fermented sausages, produced using starter cultures. After ripening, some relevant organoleptic defects (off-odour, crust formation) were observed. Therefore, analyses were carried out in the inner and outer sausage section to explain this phenomenon. Microbiological analyses indicated a high meat batter contamination and metagenomic analyses evidenced the inability of LAB starter cultures to lead the fermentation process. The results of this not controlled fermentation were the accumulation of high levels of biogenic amines (including histamine) and the formation of a volatile profile different if compared with similar products. Indeed, the volatilome analysis revealed unusually high amounts of molecules such as isovaleric acid, propanoic acid, 1-propanol, which can be responsible for off-odours. This study demonstrated that starter culture use...

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