Influence of a Bio-Consortium Starter Culture on the Biochemical and Micro Structural Characteristics of Traditional Dry Cured Meat Product

University of Food Technologies, Department Meat and Fish Technology, BG - 4002 Plovdiv, Bulgaria


DANOV, K., D. GRADINARSKA, K. VALKOVA-JORGOVA and T. SLAVCHEVA, 2014. Influence of a bioconsortium starter culture on the biochemical and micro structural characteristics of traditional dry cured meat product. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 20: 523-531


In this paper, we focus on a comparative evaluation of the biochemical, micro structural and sensory characteristics of a traditional Bulgarian dry cured meat product – Elena fillet, made using a natural fermentation process under the effect of a bioconsortium starter culture from Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactococcus lactis and Micrococcus varians. The starter culture effect on the biochemical transformations in the protein fraction was determined by monitoring the changes in the degree of hydrolysis and the electrophoretic profiles of meat proteins. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used for evaluation of the micro structural changes during fillet drying and ripening. Similar dynamics of the biochemical and micro structural transformations were observed in all samples, with and without a starter, but they were more pronounced in the inoculated products. In the latter, the histological changes related to microstructure improvement started much earlier (the 7th – 14th day), which coincided with the growth of the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) introduced. In these samples, under the effect of the starter culture used and the enzyme activity of meat proteases in the anisotropic (A) and isotropic (I) sectors, stronger destruction of the actin and myosin protofibrils in m. Longissimus dorsi occurred. The inoculated samples exhibited partial Z-line hydrolysis in the middle of the I-disk and emergence of elongated light strips filled with finely granulated matter.
This was related to acceleration of the ripening processes and a higher sensory evaluation of the ready-to-eat inoculated dry meat products.

Key words: dry cured meat, starter culture, microstructure

See the article as a PDF.