Sensory characteristics and volatile compounds of dry cured ham Speck are affected by pig dietary supplementation with antioxidant mixture

J Sci Food Agric. 2021 Feb;101(3):1134-1142. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.10724. Epub 2020 Aug 28.


Background: Dry cured ham named Speck is a typical Italian product, with consolidated processing techniques and specific quality parameters. It has gained importance in the international market after obtaining the Protected Geographical Indication. Recent studies indicate that dietary plant extracts in pig may affect quality of processed meats but there are no data on their effect on Speck. Consequently, the effects of dietary supplementation with antioxidant mixture (AOX), containing vitamin E and polyphenols, in pigs on the nutritional characteristics, volatile compounds, sensory properties and consumers' preference of Speck were evaluated.

Results: The Speck weight loss during seasoning was lower in the AOX group, while products quality parameters were not affected by dietary treatments. Alcohol and terpenes concentrations were lower (P < 0.05) in the AOX samples than the control. Sensory profile revealed slight differences (P < 0.05) in Speck salty and sweet taste, whereas the consumer tests showed a higher (P < 0.05) preference, with mean score of seven, for Speck from pigs fed AOX.

Conclusion: Our results provide new insights on the quality parameters of Speck. Dietary integration with antioxidant mixture decreased Speck weight losses during seasoning. Volatile compounds concentrations and sensory profile were slightly affected by dietary treatment. The consumer test revealed that dietary antioxidants, increased the overall preference for Speck, and can potentially increase its consumption. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: Speck; antioxidants; consumer test; sensory evaluation; volatile compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Meat Products / analysis*
  • Swine / growth & development
  • Swine / metabolism*
  • Taste
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Volatile Organic Compounds

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