Dry cured sausages such as Portuguese chouriço de vinho are made generally with roughly minced pork and fat and seasoned with a large variety of herbs and spices. It is a particular sausage because meat is marinated in wine with other seasonings during 24–48 h before stuffing. Nowadays, health concerns of consumers have left food processors with less flexibility to choose preservative substances and methods. Thus, the objective of this study was to assess the antimicrobial effect of essential oils (EOs) of herbs and spices traditionally used in seasoning dry cured sausage chouriço against Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. First, antibacterial activity of 14 EOs was screened by disk diffusion assay. Those EOs that displayed antimicrobial activity were further characterized by GC–MS and added as natural antimicrobial substances to the manufacture of chouriço at two concentrations (0.005% and 0.05%). Samples were analyzed 24 h after the preparation of the batter and after 3, 8, 15 and 21 days.After 15 days of drying, Salmonella spp. and L. monocytogenes counts decreased by ca. 2 log cfu/g in all samples. At 3 days, Salmonella spp. was already undetectable in chouriço made with 0.05% of garlic and oregano EOs. Both Salmonella spp. and L. monocytogenes were not detected after 8 and 15 days of drying respectively. S. aureus was still presented after 21 days of drying although its counts were not high enough to a potential enterotoxins presence. Utilization of EOs in manufacture of dry cured sausage resulted in an interesting strategy to improve its safety against Salmonella spp, L. monocytogenes and S. aureus, but with sensory limitations, that does not allow its use in high concentrations, that are those more interesting for pathogen inhibition.However, results with good potential to be applied by the industry were found, once the level of addition of 0.005% contributed for significant reductions on the pathogen's counts and for a shorter period to achieve the not detectable level, allowing the industry to shorten the drying period and, thereafter increasing yield production.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.