Biogenic Amines

Biogenic amines in dry-cured sausages are of microbial origin. They are formed via decarboxylation of amines, by amination or transamination of aldehydes and ketones, or by hydrolysis of N-containing compounds. Due to their vasoactive properties, biogenic amines represent a health hazard. In retail dry-cured sausages, they are detected in varying levels and some of the biogenic amines are present in concentrations representing a risk for sensitive consumers (51). Many of the traditional starter cultures, such as L. pentosus and L. plantarum, are assumed not to form biogenic amines (52). Among the more recent meat starter cultures, L. curvatus has been shown to form biogenic amines, whereas the necessary decarboxylytic activity has yet to be demonstrated in L. sakei (53). High levels of biogenic amines in dry-cured sausages probably reflect usage of inferior raw materials, problems in recipe formulation or processing program, or choice of wrong starter culture (51).

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