Animal Science, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Meat and Muscle Biology 6(1): 15446, 1–11 (2022) doi:10.22175/mmb.15446


Open access.


The goal of this study was to evaluate the variation in spoilage microbiota associated with sliced, prepackaged deli-style ham from varying processing environments available in the retail market in the United States. Three different brands of presliced ham, water added were purchased at local markets and evaluated every 2 wk beginning 4 wk prior to the sell-by date until 4 wk beyond the sell-by date. Analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA genes using operational taxonomic units showed that Brand A had a different bacterial community structure compared with Brands B and C, according to unweighted (P = 0.006) and weighted (P < 0.001) UniFrac distance matrices. Brand A had a greater proportion of sequence reads mapping to Carnobacterium, Bacillus, and Prevotella, whereas B and C had greater proportions of Pseudomonas, Photobacterium, and Lactococcus. Brand A also had a lower salt concentration (P < 0.007), greater moisture percentage and less fat percentage (P < 0.012), and increased aerobic plate count (P = 0.017). Differences in spoilage microbiota can in part be attributed to the factors involved with different processing locations, as shown by 3 different brands of ham, as well as slight differences in formulation including salt concentration and organic acid use.