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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Previous projects > Agriculture and Food > Acaridae control in the ham curing process
Graphic element Acaridae control in the ham curing process
     
 
This project gathered important scientific knowledge about the infestation of ham by parasites, including fungi and tiny spider-like acarids or mites, during the curing process.
 

Ham production is a traditional and economically vital activity in many parts of Europe, particularly in some of the more challenged regions of the Iberian peninsula. Ham curing involves the successive exposure of ham to high humidity, then high heat, then relatively low heat over the course of two to three years. Unfortunately, these same conditions are well suited to the growth of particular types of fungi and the tiny spider-like acarids or mites that eat them.

This project's intended goal was the development of new curing methods to prevent the infestation of ham by parasites during the curing process, and while it was ultimately unable to do so, important new knowledge was gained through the manipulation of curing conditions about the proliferation and behaviour of fungi and the accompanying mites. Mites were seen to burrow into and actually eat the ham itself when external conditions became unfavourable. Also, a new species of mite was identified.

This project was a first attempt at enhancing the ham curing process through a scientific approach and as such is an important contribution to small local European economies where ham production plays an important role.

Cordis RCN: 42061
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