Elements of tradition and naturalness in fermented meats: microbial and technological dimensions

Project Details


Meat fermentation is an age-old method to enhance the shelf-life of raw meat. Throughout the production process, unique sensory characteristics are generated by the microbiota involved in the fermentation, mostly consisting of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS). Gastronomic quality is a major reason for the current popularity of fermented meat products, besides their aspects of convenience and cultural heritage. Nowadays, there also is a demand for “naturalness” and clean-label approaches, partially to remove the anxiety related to the potential negative health impact of processed meat consumption. There is a need for a better understanding of the intrinsic relationships between the processing (e.g., salt level, curing agent, and acidification profiles), the community dynamics of the dominant meat microbiota (in particular the CNS), and the effects on the final product quality and safety. In particular, it needs to be verified if these aspects have any relationship at all with the so-called traditional elements of meat fermentation and to which degree processing alterations (e.g., salt reduction and nitrate/nitrite removal) may affect the outcome. Answering those questions will lead to novel insights into the ecological behaviour of meat microbiota and contribute to a better understanding of their specific impact on quality and safety during (innovative/traditional) meat fermentations.
Effective start/end date1/01/1731/12/20


  • fermented meats

Flemish discipline codes

  • Clinical microbiology