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Preliminary assessment of microbiological and physicochemical properties of artisanal “chouriço de carne” fermented sausages, manufactured in Northern Portugal
1, 2 , 1, 2 , 1, 2 , 3 , 1, 2 , 1, 2 , 4 , 1, 2 , * 1, 2
1  Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
2  Laboratório Associado para a Sustentabilidade e Tecnologia em Regiões de Montanha (SusTEC), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
3  Department of Food Science and Technology, UIC Zoonosis y Enfermedades Emergentes (ENZOEM), CeiA3, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus Rabanales, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
4  Nutrition and Bromatology Group, Faculty of Food Science and Technology, University of Vigo, Ourense Campus, E32004 Ourense, Spain
Academic Editor: Efstathios Giaouris


“Chouriço de carne” is a typical Portuguese ready-to-eat dry fermented sausage, produced with marinated pork meat and fat, and seasonings. This artisanally-produced sausage relies on effective spontaneous fermentation and drying to suppress pathogen development, ensuring its microbial safety and desired organoleptic properties.

The objective of this study was to evaluate selected microbiological and physicochemical characteristics of artisanal “chouriço” produced in different counties of the Bragança district. Mesophiles, lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium spp., Listeria spp. and Salmonella spp., as well as pH, water activity (aw) and moisture, were determined for each sample, 5 per lot, of 14 analysed enterprises. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of these variables was conducted to construct quality maps of the analysed lots.

Three components were extracted, accounting for 63% of the data variation. PC1 explains 26% of the data, and its positive correlation to aw and moisture, and negative association with pH, means that slower drying is required for an efficient fermentation. PC2 (24%), highly and positively correlated with LAB and mesophiles, characterises the extent of fermentation. PC3 (12%), positively associated with S. aureus and Clostridium spp., describes sausages of low microbiological safety. Nevertheless, the weight of this PC is moderate, as S. aureus and Clostridium spp. were detected in 10 and 6 factories each, and simultaneously in only 5. Salmonella spp. and Listeria spp. did not present significant loading in any component, as they were only detected in one factory each. Listeria spp. was not enumerated in any of the samples.

Keywords: Clostridium; Staphylococcus aureus; Salmonella; Listeria; pathogens; LAB; pH; moisture; principal component analysis; fermented sausage