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Fungal growth pattern, sources and factors of mould contamination in a dry-cured meat production facility

Asefa DT, Kure CF, Gjerde RO, Omer MK, Langsrud S, Nesbakken T, Skaar I. Fungal growth pattern, sources and factors of mould contamination in a dry-cured meat production facility. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FOOD MICROBIOLOGY 2010; 140 (2-3):131-5

The aims of this study were to investigate the patterns of fungal growth on dry-cured meat products, identify the important sources and factors of contamination and recommend intervention measures. The production processes of two smoked dry-cured hams and one unsmoked dry-cured leg of lamb were studied. A longitudinal observational study was performed to collect 642 samples from the meat, production materials, room installations and indoor and outdoor air of the production facility. Standard mycological isolation and identification procedures were followed. Totally. 901 fungal isolates were obtained; of which 57% were moulds while 43% were yeast. Yeasts were dominant on meat surfaces by covering 64% of the isolates. Mould growth was not observed until late in the dry-ripening stage. Yeasts and moulds were isolated from half of the environmental samples, of which moulds contributed by 80%. More than 39 mould species were isolated from the entire production process with a 77% contribution by the species of Penicillium. Penicillium nalgiovense dominated the species composition of moulds isolated from the products and the production environment. A preliminary bioassay analysis on bacterial colonies indicated that most of the P. nalgiovense isolates have the ability to produce penicillin. Such isolates might produce penicillin on the products and can become potential food safety hazards. Improper pressing at the salting process, the air quality in salting, brining and smoking rooms and activities in the sorting room were identified as important factors and sources of fungal contamination. Technical solutions and organized production activities that reduce crack formation, airborne spore concentration and improve air circulation in the facility are recommended as intervention measures. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

NVI authors

Skaar Ida

Forsker / seksjonsleder