Bacterial species diversity of traditionally ripened sheep legs from the Faroe Islands (skerpikjøt)

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Skerpikjøt is a traditionally ripened sheep leg product from the Faroe Islands, constituting a relatively underexplored microbial ecosystem. The objective of this study is to achieve a deeper understanding of the microbial composition of this artisanal product. Nine ripened hind legs, obtained from three different producers, were assessed regarding their bacterial communities and contents of biogenic amines, including both surface and core samples. Biogenic amine concentrations were generally low, although one sample had a somewhat elevated concentration of cadaverine. Bacterial diversity was investigated by culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques. Gram-positive catalase-positive cocci (GCC) constituted the most abundant group. Within this group, Staphylococcus equorum was the most prevailing species, followed by Kocuria sp., Mammaliicoccus vitulinus, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus. Lactic acid bacteria prevailed in only one sample and were mainly represented by Latilactobacillus curvatus. Enterobacterial communities were characterised by the prevalence of Serratia proteamaculans. Despite the majority of GCC, Clostridium putrefaciens was the most abundant bacterial species in some core samples. Taken together, the culture-dependent and culture-independent identification methods gave complementary results.




Charmpi, C., Thamsborg, K. K. M., Mikalsen, S. O., Magnussen, E., Sosa Fajardo, A., Van der Veken, D., … Leroy, F. (2023). Bacterial species diversity of traditionally ripened sheep legs from the Faroe Islands (skerpikjøt). International Journal of Food Microbiology, 386.

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