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Ciência Rural

Print version ISSN 0103-8478On-line version ISSN 1678-4596

Cienc. Rural vol.48 no.9 Santa Maria  2018  Epub Sep 03, 2018 


Mutton mortadella supplemented with yacón meal

Mortadela de carne ovina suplementada com farinha de batata yacon

Alexandre Cristiano Santos Júnior1  *

Fábio da Costa Henry1

Jonhny de Azevedo Maia Júnior1

Monique Moreira Moulin2

Suzana Maria Della Lucia3

Célia Raquel Quirino1

Antonio Manoel Maradini Filho3

Beatriz Módulo Busato3

1Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Agropecuárias (CCTA), Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro (UENF), Campos dos Goytacazes, 28013-602, Goytacazes ,RJ, Brasil.

2Instituto Federal do Espírito Santo (IFES), Alegre, ES, Brasil.

3Departamento de Engenharia de Alimentos, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), Alegre, ES, Brasil.


This study evaluated the effect of different yacón meal concentrations (Smallanthus sonchifolia) on the physicochemical, microbiological, and sensory characteristics of four mortadella formulations (F1, F2, F3, and control) prepared with mutton, pork fat, and additives. All formulations met the physicochemical and microbiological standards defined in regulations for mortadella production in Brazil. Control and F1 were the formulations with better acceptance scores, compared with F2 and F3. The judges stated favorable purchase intention for the control, F1 and F2 formulations. Results showed that mutton mortadella supplemented with yacón meal is a promising alternative in the manufacture of healthier meat products.

Key words: mutton; mortadella; Smallanthus sonchifolia


Este estudo avaliou o efeito de diferentes concentrações de farinha de yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolia) sobre as características físico-químicas, microbiológicas e sensoriais de quatro formulações de mortadelas (F1, F2, F3 e controle) preparadas com carne de ovinos, gordura suína e aditivos. Todas as formulações atenderam aos padrões físico-químicos e microbiológicos definidos nas regulamentações para produção de mortadela no Brasil. As formulações controle e F1 obtiveram as melhores pontuações de aceitação, em comparação com F2 e F3. Os julgadores declararam intenção de compra favorável para as formulações controle, F1 e F2. Os resultados mostram que a mortadela de carne ovina suplementada com farinha de yacon é uma alternativa promissora na fabricação de produtos cárneos mais saudáveis.

Palavras-chave: ovinos; mortadela; Smallanthus sonchifolia


Several studies have examined the development of new, healthier foods based on the protective effect of substances in foods on human health (DOMÉNECH-ASENSI et al., 2013; MÉNDEZ-ZAMORA et al., 2015). Much research has also looked into the effect of adding nutritional supplements like vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds with confirmed physiological functions such as dietary fiber, natural pigments, antioxidant agents, and other additives to foods (CARDOSO et al., 2013; MAIA JÚNIOR et al., 2013). In this scenario, the food industry faces increasing challenges in the effort to develop and commercialize healthier foods that meet customer requirements more effectively.

Meat products take an important position in the development of healthier foods, and numerous studies have been carried out to produce innovative formulations that achieve functional status if they perform a specific role in health, in addition to their expected nutritional potential (DUTRA et al., 2013; MÉNDEZ-ZAMORA et al., 2015; LEITE et al., 2015).

Formulated mostly with pork, mortadella is one of the meat products most consumed by the Brazilian population. But mutton is now considered a viable alternative to pork in the production of several skin-encased products due to its high nutritional and sensory attributes. For example, mutton contains considerable levels of protein and iron besides attractively low levels of lipids, compared with other types of meat. For these reasons, a considerable body of research has placed mutton as a feasible alternative raw material in the production of healthier skin-encased products (LIMA JÚNIOR et al., 2013; GUERRA et al., 2012; BURIN et al., 2015).

Flours produced from various plant species may also be an attractive alternative as functional ingredients in meat-encased products (CARDOSO et al., 2013). The flour produced from yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolia) is an interesting candidate in this purpose, since it contains bioactive compounds like fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, and phenolic compounds (DELGADO et al., 2013). The human organism does not produce any enzyme that hydrolyzes FOS, so these compounds cross the digestive tract unmetabolized, providing low energy levels. Therefore, they become an interesting ingredient in diets which aim to treat obesity and control the chronic conditions associated with the disease (BORGES et al., 2012).

In other words, the development of new meat products containing alternative ingredients as well as functional compounds becomes fertile ground for research and development of commercially feasible foods. In this context, this study evaluated the physicochemical, microbiological, and sensory characteristics of mortadella formulations prepared with mutton and different concentrations of yacón meal.


Study location

All experimental procedures were carried out in the laboratories of Meat Processing, Applied Chemistry, and Microbiology of the Instituto Federal Espírito Santo (IFES, Campus de Alegre, ES) and the laboratory of Sensory Analysis of the Center for Agriculture Studies of the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (CCA-UFES, Campus de Alegre, ES).

Raw materials

The mortadella formulations analyzed were prepared with mutton shoulder steak from Dorper and Santa Inês sheep bred in confinement in Santa Barbara farm in the municipality of Muniz Freire, state of Espírito Santo (ES), Brazil. All animals were slaughtered in an abattoir (Cofril) located in the municipality of Atílio Vivácqua, ES. Meat cuts were inspected and certified for human consumption by the Food Product Survey Service of ES (SIE/IDAF).

The raw material was stored in walk-in freezers at -18ºC upon preparation of formulations. Yacón meal and the other additives were purchased in stores specialized in natural plant products and processed additives used in the manufacture of skin-encased products.

Preparation of mortadella formulations

Four mortadella formulations were prepared replacing pork fat for different amounts of yacón meal (Control, F1, F2, and F3) according to GUERRA et al. (2012), with modifications. The preparation followed the food identity standards defined in Brazilian regulations (BRASIL, 2000). Percent contents of raw material and additives used in each formulation are shown in table 1.

Table 1 Percentage amounts of raw material and additives used in four mortadella formulations prepared with yacón meal. 

Raw material Control F1 F2 F3
Meat 67.00 67.00 67.00 67.00
Fat 30.00 27.00 24.00 21.00
Yacón meal1 0.00 1.25 2.50 5.00
Sugar2 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10
Salt (NaCl)3 2.10 2.10 2.10 2.10
Sodium nitrite4 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20
Emulsifier5 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30
Color fixer6 0.30 0.30 0.30 0.30
Water 0.00 1.75 3.50 4.00

1Natural Life® yacón meal

2União® sugar

3Cisne® salt

4Kura K007 - Doremus® curing salt

5Ibrac® emulsifier

6Ibrac® color fixer

Mortadella formulations were prepared according to GUERRA et al. (2012), with modifications. The frozen mutton shoulder cuts were thawed at approximately 4ºC. Next, mutton and fat were serially ground using a meat grinder equipped with grind plates with 8-mm, 5-mm, and 3-mm outlets. All meat samples were ground three times through each grind plate. Then, mutton, fat, yacón meal, and the other additives were weighed for each formulation and blended in a food processor for approximately 6min until the material was thoroughly mixed. Mortadella formulations were encased in an appropriate polyethylene bag to cook mortadella purchased in a specialized shop regularly inspected by local health authorities.

Formulations were cooked in a stainless steel mold in a double bath at roughly 80ºC until the temperature in the center of mass reached 74ºC. After, products were properly labeled, vacuum-packaged in polyethylene bags, and kept at 4ºC upon analyses and evaluation of shelf life.

Physicochemical analysis

Samples of each mortadella formulation were ground and homogenized. Humidity of samples was analyzed in a stove at 105ºC, while ash content was determined by incineration in muffle furnace at 550ºC. Protein content was assessed using the conventional Kjeldhal method, fat content was determined by direct Shoxhlet extraction, dietary fiber content was established by a gravimetric method after acid digestion, and non-nitrogen content were established by subtraction from the other variables. All physicochemical analyses were carried out according to AOAC (2000).

Instrumental analyses

Water activity (Aw) was estimated by direct reading at approximately 25ºC in an Aw meter (Aqualab TE, Ecagon Devices, Pullman, WA). Also, pH was measured in a potentiometer using 10g of each mortadella formulation homogenized in 100ml distilled water for 5min (Schott Handylab).

Color was analyzed as described by RAMOS and GOMIDE (2007) using a colorimeter (MiniScan, EX HunterLab) and D65 as illuminant at an observation angle of 10º according to the CIELAB color space. Results were shown as angular coordinates, in which the L* axis reflects the lightness of a color (L*=0 represents absolute black, L*=100 represents absolute white), the a* axis represents the green shades (-80<a*<0 represents green, 0<a*<100 represents red), and the b* axis is for the color yellow (-100<b*<0 represents blue, 0<b*<+70 represents yellow). Saturation index was calculated using the equation C *=a*2+b*21/2

Microbiological analyses

The microbiological analyses thermo-tolerant coliforms at 45ºC, coagulase-positive Staphylococcus, Salmonella sp., and sulphite-reducing clostridia at 46ºC of samples were done 10, 45, 90, and 120 days after processing, carried out according to the official methods adopted by the Brazilian food inspection authority and carried out as proposed by SILVA et al. (2007).

Sensory analysis

Sensory analysis was conducted following the protocol proposed by MEILGAARD (2006). Sixty non-trained observers including students, staff members, and professors of CCA-UFES agreed to taste samples of formulations in a single session, declaring sensory impressions and purchase intention.

Statistical analyses

Results of the physicochemical analyses were compared using a complete randomized design with four treatments and three repeats for each mortadella formulation (control, F1, F2, and F3). Results were submitted to an analysis of variance (ANOVA), and means of treatments were compared using the Student-Newman-Keuls test and, for sensory analysis, the Tukey test at 5% probability. The analyses were carried out in the Statistical Analysis System (SAS, version 9.2, 2013).


Physicochemical analyses

Table 2 shows the results of the composition analysis (humidity, protein, fat, ash, dietary fiber, non-nitrogenated contents), yield, and instrumental analysis (pH, Aw, color, and texture) of the mortadella formulations. Results showed that all mortadella formulations met the mean humidity contents established in Brazilian regulations for the product (65%; BRASIL, 2000).

Table 2 Means and standard deviations of physicochemical variables and yield of mortadella formulations prepared with different concentrations of yacón meal. 

Variables --------------------------------------------------------Formulations-------------------------------------------------
Control F1 F2 F3
Humidity (%) 56.40 ± 0.10a 55.00 ± 0.10b 55.16 ± 0.15b 54.60 ± 0.15c
Proteins (%) 16.00 ± 0.00a 18.23 ± 0.06b 18.43 ± 0.40bc 18.80 ± 0.10c
Fat# (%) 25.10 ± 0.10a 23.73 ± 0.15b 22.03 ± 0.38c 20.13 ± 0.15d
Ash (%) 2.50 ± 0.00a 2.50 ± 0.00a 2.60 ± 0.00a 3.10 ± 0.10b
Dietary fiber (%) 0.00 ± 0.00a 0.30 ± 0.00b 0.40 ± 0.00c 1.13 ± 0.06d
Non-nitrogenated extract.## (%) 0.00 ± 0.00a 0.24 ± 0.06b 1.38 ± 0.06c 2.24 ± 0.06d
Yield (%) 67.83 ± 1.05a 68.30 ± 1.20a 72.06 ± 3.05b 73.70 ± 1.10b
pH 5.97 ± 0.09a 5.87 ± 0.08a 5.87 ± 0.06a 5.86 ± 0.02a
Aw 0.97 ± 0.00a 0.97 ± 0.00a 0.97 ± 0.00a 0.97 ± 0.00a
L* 59.84 ± 0.34a 56.02 ± 0.60b 54.34 ± 0.29c 51.03 ± 0.20d
a* 12.13 ± 0.04a 11.42 ± 0.20b 10.59 ± 0.03c 9.97 ± 0.11d
b* 12.47 ± 0.37a 13.35 ± 0.18a 14.27 ± 0.31b 16.11 ± 0.27c
c* 17.41 ± 0.30a 17.54 ± 0.24a 17.81 ± 0.28b 18.94 ± 0.29b

Different letters in the same line indicate statistically significant differences (P<0.05) in the Student-Newman-Keuls test.

Minimum protein contents of all formulations were above the minimum acceptable value (12%) established in the Brazilian regulation (BRASIL, 2000), but the values differed statistically between formulations (P>0.05). Used as stabilizer agent in emulsified food products, proteins affect the water-fat interface, reducing interfacial tension, improving the mixture of these ingredients, and preventing the coalescence of lipids. In other words, proteins are an essential ingredient in the preparation of emulsified skin-encased products with acceptable sensory characteristics (GUERRA et al., 2012).

Fat levels varied significantly between formulations (P>0.05), as expected. However, it is important to emphasize that formulations met the maximum acceptable level of fat established in Brazilian regulations (30%; BRASIL, 2000). According to GUERRA et al. (2012), lipid level is a very important parameter in mortadella, since fat improves texture and product flavor .

Results of the present study also showed that, in addition to improve the yield of F1, F2, and F3 compared with the control formulation (which did not include yacón meal), the increasing amounts of yacón meal in these formulations explain the statistically significant differences in the levels of ash, dietary fiber, and non-nitrogenated extract observed.

Overall, the percent composition of foods was similar to the values obtained for cooked skin-encased mutton products formulated with yacón meal and flour from other plant species (DUTRA et al., 2013; BARRETTO et al., 2015; CONTADO et al., 2015; SANTOS JÚNIOR et al., 2017). Mean pH and Aw values of formulations did not differ statistically (P<0.05). Since Aw and pH are important determinants of microbial growth, it will be obvious that these parameters are significant for its resistance to spoilage.

In the objective evaluation of color, L* values, which represents luminosity (0=black, 100=white) varied significantly (P>0.05) between formulations. The higher the amount of yacón meal added, the darker the product obtained. With the lowest L* value (51.03), F3 had presented the darkest color, while the control formulation was the lightest, with L* of 59.84.

Indicating the intensity of red color in food products (-80<a*<0 represents green, 0<a*<100 represents red), a* values varied statistically between formulations: the higher the amount of yacón meal added, the lighter the red tone of the product. Control formulation exhibited the most intense tone of red, with a* of 12.13. In turn, F3 had the least intense red tone, with a* of 9.97.

Similarly, b* values (-100<b*<0 represents blue, 0<b*<+70 represents yellow) observed for the control formulation and F1 varied statistically compared with F2 and F3 (P>0.05). Expressing the intensity of yellow tones in mortadella, b* values indicated the intensity of brown tones in meat and meat products (BARRETO et al., 2015). Therefore, F2 and F3, which were prepared using high percent amounts of yacón meal, were more intensely brown. The influence of a* and b* values becomes more noticeable when the parameters are evaluated based on C*, whose values for the control formulation and F1 varied statistically, compared with F2 and F3 (P>0.05).

The control formulation had the lightest color and the most intense red tone, while F1, F2, and F3 were increasingly darker, which may affect sensory acceptance. But the overall color results obtained were similar, agreeing with the findings published by Contado et al., (2015) in a study that examined ham-like meat products containing yacón meal.

Microbiological analyses

Mean counts of thermotolerant coliforms, coagulase-positive Staphilococcus, Salmonella sp., and sulphite-reducing clostridia are shown in table 3. Mortadella is a cooked meat product with a shelf-life of 60 days when stored at 4ºC. In the present study, all microbiological counts were below the maximum acceptable values defined by Brazilian regulations 120 days into storage. Such results are similar to what has been observed in other researches (GUERRA et al. 2012; CARDOSO et al. 2013). The excellent microbiological quality of the mortadella formulations analyzed is a direct consequence of the quality of raw materials used, besides the adoption of good manufacturing practices, use of additives that prevent the growth of deleterious microorganisms, and the vacuum-packaging system employed to store mortadellas.

Table 3 Means and standard deviations of microorganism counts in mutton mortadella formulated with different amounts of yacón meal 10, 45, 90, and 120 days after processing. 

Parameters Time ------------------------------------------Formulations-----------------------------------
Control F1 F2 F3 Regulationsa
Thermo-tolerant coliforms* 10 days <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <103
45 days <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <103
90 days <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <103
120 days <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <0.3 <103
Coagulase-positive Staphylococcus ** 10 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 3x103
45 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 3x103
90 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 3x103
120 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 3x103
Sulphite-reducing Clostridium at 46ºC** 10 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 5x102
45 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 5x102
90 days < 1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 5x102
120 days <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 <1.0 5x102
Salmonella sp. 10 days absent absent absent absent absence
45 days absent absent absent absent absence
90 days absent absent absent absent absence
120 days absent absent absent absent absence

*Given as most probable number (MPN) per gram

**Given as colony forming units (CFU) per gram

aBRASIL. 2001.

Sensory analysis

Results of acceptance parameters and the purchase intention test for the mortadella formulations studied are shown in figure 1. The acceptance of the control formulation and F1 were similar for all sensory parameters considered (P<0.05). Except for flavor of F1 (6.7), the mean acceptance scores attributed to all other parameters were higher than 7.0. These formulations could be included in the categories “liked very much” and “liked moderately”. For DUTCOSKY (2001), a product is considered to have good acceptance when one mean acceptance score is higher than 7.0 for any sensory parameter evaluated.

Figure 1 Results of acceptance parameters and the purchase intention for mortadella formulations prepared with different amounts of yacón meal. 

Mean acceptance scores considering color and overall impression of F2 were lower, compared with the control formulation and F1. Color, texture, and overall impression scores of these formulations varied significantly compared with F2 and F3. Acceptance score of F2 allows including it in the categories “liked moderately” and “liked slightly”.

Acceptance score of F3 was lower (P> 0.05) in the parameters color, flavor, texture, and overall impression. Mean acceptance score was 6.0, which means that it can be included in the categories “liked slightly” and “indifferent”. The poor acceptance of F3 is due to its darker color, milder intensity of the red tone, and lower level of fat (which plays an essential role in flavor and texture). So it may be inferred that the percent amount of yacón meal affects texture of mortadella and therefore the acceptance of F3, compared to the other formulations.

Mean scores in the purchase intention test did not differ statistically (P<0.05) for the control formulation, F1, and F2. Means varied between 3.8 and 3.5, which includes the formulations in the category “probably would buy”. However, with a score of 3.1 F3 differed significantly from the other formulations (P>0.05), and could be included in the category “maybe would buy/maybe would not buy”. Also, F3 had the lowest purchase intention score, and the control formulation, F1, and F2 had good acceptance scores, when observers declared their favorable purchase intention.


The use of mutton and yacón meal is a promising alternative in the manufacture of healthier skin-encased products. Physicochemical and microbiological parameters of varied between formulations, but all met the minimum percent values established in Brazilian regulations. As a rule, the control formulation and F1 had better acceptance compared to F2 and F3, though all were accepted, since observers manifested their favorable purchase intention. It should be stressed that partnerships between research centers and food industry are essential in the search for innovation toward the development of healthier products with potentially interesting performance on the commercial scale.


The authors thank Instituto Federal do Espírito Santo (Ifes) andthe funding agencies Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES).


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BIOETHICS AND BIOSSECURITY COMMITTEE APPROVALWe authors of the article entitled “Mutton mortadella supplemented with yacón meal” declared, for all due purposes, the project that gave rise to the present data has not been submitted for evaluation to the Ethics Committee of the University /Research Institute “Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro”, but we are aware of the contents of Resolution No. 466, of December 12, 2012 of the Brazilian National Health Council <> if it involves human. Thus, the authors assume full responsibility for the presented data and are available for possible questions, should they be required by the competent authorities.

Received: April 25, 2018; Accepted: July 31, 2018; Revised: August 14, 2018

E-mail: *Corresponding author.


The authors declare no conflict of interest. The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results.

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