Nitrates and nitrites (NN) are molecules extensively used in food industry. They contribute to the color of the cured meats, inhibit spoilage bacteria proliferation, lipid oxidation, and off flavors onset. However, NN have adverse effects on the human health because generating nitrosamines, substances that are carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic.
Grape by-products are a source of bioactive compounds with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties resembling those of NN. Furthermore, red grape pomace (GP) could contribute to the final color of the cured meat, allowing to decrease the addition of NN. As a source of dietary fibers, phenols, and minerals GP could also ameliorate the nutritional value of meat.
The project aims at revaluating winemaking by-products to develop a GP-enriched functional Italian salami. To this purpose, the first phase of the project will deal with the collection of organic GP and its physicochemical and microbial stabilization. Pomace will be milled, and the chemical composition of the obtained powders (Pp) analyzed to quantify the antimicrobial compounds affecting the fermentative bacteria and the most common spoilage microorganisms of Italian salami.
To control the release of these bioactive molecules during the seasoning of salami and avoid undesired fermentations, Pp will undergo encapsulation process. The encapsulates will be tested on the microbial starters and spoilage bacteria, and finally added to the experimental salami in the presence of different concentrations of NN. Three different times of aging (20, 40 and 60 days) will be considered. The physicochemical and the microbial characteristics of the final products will be characterized. Panel tests will be performed to identify the best ingredient mix.
In the second year, the developed formulation for the experimental salami will be scaled-up at the industrial level and products evaluated with the same set of analyses. This last phase will allow obtaining a marketable product.