European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 244, Issue 12, pp 2203–2212 | Cite as

Effect of starter cultures on taste-active amino acids and survival of pathogenic Escherichia coli in dry fermented beef sausages

  • Kai Xing Tang
  • Tiange Shi
  • Michael GänzleEmail author
Original Paper


The accumulation of taste-active compounds during ripening determines the taste of fermented meats; however, the contribution of defined starter cultures to glutamate during sausage ripening remains unknown. This study investigated the role of lactic acid bacteria and Staphylococcus carnosus on the accumulation of free amino acids during dry sausage fermentation. A sausage model system was developed to control sausage microbiota throughout ripening. Sausages were produced at the laboratory scale with defined starter cultures; aseptic controls were fermented without culture addition. Lactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus pentosaceus, and Pediococcus acidilactici were used as single cultures; Staphylococcus carnosus with L. sakei or P. pentosaceus were used as cocktails. The viable cell counts in aseptic control sausages remained < 1 log (CFU/g) throughout 20 days of ripening. The use of the model system demonstrated that bacterial enzymes influenced the release of free amino acids, even during the initial fermentation stage. Ripening time was the most important factor determining the accumulation of free amino acids, and the accumulation of glutamate was not strain specific. The sausage model system was also used for a challenge trial with a cocktail of pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli; viable cell counts of pathogenic E. coli were reduced by less than 1 log (CFU/g) during ripening. The sausage model for control of ripening microbiota will facilitate further studies on the impact of defined cultures on the safety and quality of fermented meats.


Dry fermented sausage Sterile sausage model Free amino acid Glutamate Shiga toxin producing E. coli 



This project received funding from the NSERC CREATE and Discovery programs; Michael Gänzle acknowledges support from the Canada Research Chairs program. Weilan Wang is acknowledged for her support with statistical analysis. BITEC Frutarom Savory Solutions (Germany) and Cargill Meat Solutions (Canada) are acknowledged for providing starter cultures and beef, respectively.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Supplementary material

217_2018_3130_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (503 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 502 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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