Phew, Salami Is Not Spiced Adipocere


Adipocere / corpse wax:

a wax-like organic substance formed by the anaerobic bacterial hydrolysis of fat in tissue, such as body fat in corpses. … a crumbly, waxy, water-insoluble material consisting mostly of saturated fatty acids. Depending on whether it was formed from white or brown body fat, adipocere is grayish white or tan in color. … The transformation of fats into adipocere occurs best in the absence of oxygen in a cold and humid environment, such as in wet ground or mud at the bottom of a lake or a sealed casket …



Salami are cured in warm, humid conditions to encourage growth of the bacteria involved in the fermentation process. Sugars (usually dextrose) are added as a food source for the bacteria during the curing process … Lactic acid is produced by the bacteria as a waste product, lowering the pH and coagulating and lowering the water-holding capacity of the meat. The acid produced by the bacteria makes the meat an inhospitable environment for other, pathogenic bacteria …


Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

5 thoughts on “Phew, Salami Is Not Spiced Adipocere”

  1. The description of producing salami would never lead me to believe that it produces such delicious stuff – I’ve always regarded it as a delicacy to be eaten very thinly sliced, but I worked with a Polish man who clearly regarded it as a staple. He and I were workmates on a road construction gang while I was an engineering student undertaking university vacation employment.

    He asked me to write a letter to his son to persuade him not to drop out of university. In exchange for this act of kindness he was to provide me with dinner, which I imaqined would be a respectable repast in some nearby diner. No. Dinner turned out to be one large salami, which he cracked over his knee, handing me half to gnaw on like an oversized banana, and a bottle each of very warm beer. I had never eaten just a whole half of a large salami before with nothing to accompany it but warm beer. No bread, nothing, just chewing on the end of this wretched enormous sausage.

    The greater insult was the warm beer – it was about 40 degrees Celsius at the time, and I was never a beer lover at the best of times. Trying to consume this huge lump of salami and wash it down with this bitter warm beer was a nightmare, but I didn’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings.


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