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Microbiological characterization of different formulations of alheiras (fermented sausages)

1 Universidade Católica Portuguesa, CBQF—Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina—Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Rua Diogo Botelho 1327, 4169-005 Porto, Portugal
2 INSA—Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge, Rua de Alexandre Herculano 321, 4000-053 Porto, Portugal

Topical Sections: Food microbiology and food safety

Different ingredients in old recipes are becoming popular and the traditional alheira did not escape to this new trend. The objective of this preliminary study was to characterize microbiologically nine different formulations of alheira from five producers. In this sense, isolates obtained were characterized through different phenotypic and biochemical tests. Their susceptibility to different antimicrobials and the presence of virulence factors was also investigated. Lactic acid bacteria were the predominant microbiota, but pathogenic bacteria as coagulase-positive staphylococci, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. as well as indicator organisms were also found. Several virulence factors were produced among the different groups of isolates, with a high incidence of isolates producing β-haemolysis. Along with their potential pathogenic activity, also several antimicrobial resistances were found being the majority of isolates classified as multi-resistant. At our knowledge, this is the first study with these new formulations of alheira. A higher number of products must be analyzed, but we believe that results obtained in this study should help to alert consumers for the need of safe cooking time/temperatures of these products.
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