The objective of the study was to compare the basic chemical composition, the proteolytic and lipolytic transformations progress level, the qualitative and quantitative composition of microflora, as well as the sensory quality of selected ripening raw meat products. Based on the differences in the contents of free amino groups and free fatty acids, and on the diverse profiles of volatile aromatic compounds, it was found that the meat products analyzed highly varied. The effect of the development of lactic acid bacteria and the accumulation of free fatty acids caused the pH value of the meat products to decrease. In the group of smoked meat products, prosciutto crudo and kumpia contained the highest counts of lactobacilli (5.8 and 5.6 log cfu/g, respectively), lactococci (7.8 and 7.3 log cfu/g, respectively), as well as the highest quantity of free fatty acids (883 and 1400 mg/kg, respectively). Owing to the dynamically progressing proteolysis, the pH value of pork kumpia (5.3) was higher than that of prosciutto crudo (5.2). In the group of sausages, the kindziuk meat products were characterized by the lowest pH (from 5.14 to 5.26), the highest counts of lactobacilli (from 5.00 to 5.90 log cfu/g) and lactococci (from 6.90 to 7.90 log cfu/g), as well as the most abundant free fatty acids (from 760 to 880 mg/kg). The volatile aromatic compounds, saccharide fermentation (methyl acetate, ethyl acetate) and cell metabolism transformations products (acetic acid, butanoic acid), confirmed a high enzymatic activity of microorganisms during the ripening process of the meat products under study.
meat products, ripening, proteolysis, lipolysis, volatile aromatic compounds, sensory quality, microflora