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Journal of Food Quality
Volume 2017, Article ID 9546026, 18 pages
Review Article

The Use of Starter Cultures in Traditional Meat Products

1Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas (ICAAM), Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal
2Instituto de Investigação e Formação Avançada (IIFA), Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal
3Departamento de Fitotecnia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal
4CIISA, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, Pólo Universitário do Alto da Ajuda, 1300-477 Lisbon, Portugal

Correspondence should be addressed to Marta Laranjo; tp.aroveu@ojnaralm

Received 3 July 2017; Revised 17 October 2017; Accepted 19 October 2017; Published 12 November 2017

Academic Editor: Maria Rosaria Corbo

Copyright © 2017 Marta Laranjo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Starter cultures could play an essential role in the manufacture of traditional cured meat products. In order to achieve objectives related to meat products’ quality and safety improvement, the selection of particular strains constituting a starter culture should be carried out in the context of its application, since its functionality will depend on the type of sausage and process conditions. Also, strain selection should comply with particular requirements to warrant safety. The aim of the current review is to update the knowledge on the use of starter cultures in traditional meat products, with focus on dry-fermented products. In this manuscript, we will try to give answers to some relevant questions: Which starter cultures are used and why? Why are LAB used? What are their role and their specific mode of action? Which other groups of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) are used as starter cultures and how do they act? A particular revision of omics approach regarding starter cultures is made since the use of these techniques allows rapid screening of promising wild strains with desirable functional characteristics, enabling the development of starter cultures better adapted to the meat matrix.