A survey of the main technology, biochemical and microbiological features influencing the concentration of biogenic amines of twenty Apulian and Sicilian (Southern Italy) cheeses
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Twenty Apulian and Sicilian cheeses were analysed for their concentrations of eight biogenic amines (BAs), free amino acids, pH, water activity, and subjected to microbiological characterisation. In addition, lactic acid bacteria isolated from cheeses were assayed for their capacity to generate BAs. Principal component analysis was performed to find the effect of different parameters on the distribution of the cheeses. Although short-ripened (<= 30 d) cheeses did not show significant BA concentrations, the only BA showing high positive correlation with time of ripening was histamine. Concentration of histidine and, especially, percentage of histidine-decarboxylase bacteria presumably affected histamine concentration. High pH values were negatively correlated to the concentration of tyramine, putrescine, and cadaverine. Fifty percent of the cheeses contained at least one BA at potentially toxic concentrations. Unambiguous and ever-valid relations among parameters and BAs are difficult to determine, because BAs are the result of combined and varied factors. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.