Bacterial diversity in typical Italian salami at different ripening stages as revealed by high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons

Justyna Urszula Polka, Annalisa Rebecchi, Vincenza Pisacane, Lorenzo Morelli, Edoardo Puglisi

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148 Citations (SciVal)


The bacterial diversity involved in food fermentations is one of the most important factors shaping the final characteristics of traditional foods. Knowledge about this diversity can be greatly improved by the application of high-throughput sequencing technologies (HTS) coupled to the PCR amplification of the 16S rRNA subunit. Here we investigated the bacterial diversity in batches of Salame Piacentino PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), a dry fermented sausage that is typical of a regional area of Northern Italy. Salami samples from 6 different local factories were analysed at 0, 21, 49 and 63 days of ripening; raw meat at time 0 and casing samples at 21 days of ripening where also analysed, and the effect of starter addition was included in the experimental set-up. Culture-based microbiological analyses and PCR-DGGE were carried out in order to be compared with HTS results. A total of 722,196 high quality sequences were obtained after trimming, paired-reads assembly and quality screening of raw reads obtained by Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the two bacterial 16S hypervariable regions V3 and V4; manual curation of 16S database allowed a correct taxonomical classification at the species for 99.5% of these reads. Results confirmed the presence of main bacterial species involved in the fermentation of salami as assessed by PCR-DGGE, but with a greater extent of resolution and quantitative assessments that are not possible by the mere analyses of gel banding patterns. Thirty-two different Staphylococcus and 33 Lactobacillus species where identified in the salami from different producers, while the whole data set obtained accounted for 13 main families and 98 rare ones, 23 of which were present in at least 10% of the investigated samples, with casings being the major sources of the observed diversity. Multivariate analyses also showed that batches from 6 local producers tend to cluster altogether after 21 days of ripening, thus indicating that HTS has the potential for fine scale differentiation of local fermented foods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-356
Number of pages15
JournalFood Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Illumina
  • food


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