In addition to pathogenic bacteria and viruses, some bioactive compounds and natural toxins such as biogenic amines (BAs) can be responsible for food poisoning. These compounds, produced mainly by bacteria through the action of decarboxylases, represent a risk for consumers’ health and are involved in several pathogenic syndromes, with histamine and tyramine being the most dangerous ones. Since the presence of dangerous amounts of BAs is associated with the relevant growth of spoiling decarboxylating microorganisms, BA content has been proposed as a food quality index in fresh products. Several factors, both intrinsic and technological, can regulate BA accumulation in foods influencing the decarboxylase-positive bacteria population and proteolysis phenomena, especially in fermented products where strains belonging to different species and genera, commonly found in these foods, have been characterized for their decarboxylase activities and have been associated with high levels of BAs. Due to their impact on human health and food quality, both the development of simple and rapid methods for BA detection and the increase of knowledge of factors involved in BA accumulation are needed to face new challenges in food chains and to reduce health concerns regarding food poisoning.
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