Microscopic investigations as an aid in raw ham’s ripening analysis

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Domenico Paludi *
Giovanni Di Guardo
Alberto Olivastri
Antonio Zizzi
Corrado Rubini
Luca Maria Pennisi
Marina Baffoni
Anna Rita Festino
Adriana Ianieri
Alberto Vergara
(*) Corresponding Author:
Domenico Paludi | dpaludi@unite.it

Abstract

The raw ham’s ripening process contributes to the development of numerous biochemical reactions, mainly affecting proteins and lipids and allowing to obtain an adequate texture and a characteristic flavor. This article reports the results of histologic investigations carried out on 5 different anatomic regions from raw hams manufactured in the Fermo Province, Marche Region, Central Italy. Raw ham specimens were collected at the 10 following time intervals throughout the ripening process: 1) “Time 0”, when ripening was started, 2) one month, 3) three months, 4) four months, 5) eight months, 6) nine months, 7) twelve months, 8) eighteen months, 9) twentythree months and 10) twenty-eight months after the ripening process began, respectively. Different microscopic findings of variable extension and degree were observed, with the vast majority of them being interpreted as dehydration- and proteolysisrelated modifications. In conclusion, morpho- histological investigations may represent a valuable aid in raw ham’s ripening analysis.

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