In the northern process, smoking inhibits the development of molds. In contrast, in the southern process, some traditional producers still rely on the ''house'' flora to provide a natural inoculum for mold coating and ripening of dry fermented sausages, although due to increasing concerns about safety, the use of specific fungal starter cultures is likely to become more widespread. The spontaneous and heterogeneous nature of the ''house'' mycoflora can lead to faulty products and in particular to the production of mycotoxins in the product (56,57). Andersen (58) conducted an extensive survey of the mycoflora of mold-fermented sausages in Europe and found that Penicillium constitutes 96% of the mycoflora with species of Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Eurotium, Mucor, and Wallemia forming only a minor component. Penicillium nalgiovense formed 50% of the mycoflora with Penicillium chrysogenum, Penicillium verrucosum, Penicillium oxalicum, and Penicillium commune representing 10%, 5%, 3%, and 3% of the mycoflora, respectively. In Spanish fermented sausages, P. commune and Penicillium olsonii are the dominant species (59). None of the P. olsonii isolates produce toxic compounds, whereas all P. commune isolates produce cyclopiazonic acid (59). Molds have been isolated from red and black peppers commonly added to various kinds of Spanish sausages (60). From this study, 19% of the isolates belong to the Aspergillus flavus group and 36% of this group produce aflatoxin. Experimental contamination of Spanish sausages by these aflatoxigenic strains of molds results in the presence of aflatoxin only on the skin of the sausages (60). As many Aspergillus and Penicillium species are capable of producing mycotoxins, it is very important to select safe starters (56,57). Nontoxinogenic strains of P. nalgiovense and P. chrysogenum are developed as commercial starter cultures.
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