Sodium nitrite and sodium chloride may inhibit growth and bacteriocinogenesis of protective starter cultures. To reduce sensitivity of a lacticin 3147-producing starter culture to nitrite, prior to production of salami. Lactococcus lactis DPC 4275 was placed in a number of pre-inoculation treatments, containing (a) 1% glucose, (b) 2.5 ppm manganese (Mn), (c) 250 ppm magnesium (Mg), (d) 2.5 ppm manganese + 250 ppm magnesium (Mn + Mg), and held at ambient temperature for 30 min and 4 degreesC for 2 h. The growth, pH reduction, and bacteriocin production was monitored in beaker sausage over a period of 10 days at 28 degreesC, corresponding to typical salami production time, and compared to untreated starter culture. The effect of 1% tryptone and inoculum level on growth and bacteriocin production was also determined. Challenge tests were performed using Listeria innocua DPC 1770 and Staphylococcus aureus MMPR3 as target strains. All treatments gave a significantly higher (P < 0.05) initial starter level than the untreated starter. Beaker sausage inoculated with either low (10(7)) or high (10(9)) levels of starter culture. treated with Mn + Mg reached significantly (P < 0.05) higher levels by day 10 than other treatments. Trends indicate that Mn + ME also gave best pH reduction in sausage containing the low-level starter culture. sausage and significantly lower (P < 0.05) values for sausage produced with higher inoculum. Bacteriocin production was also higher in starter culture treated with Mn, or glucose. Pre-treatment with Mg gave a 2-fold increase in bacteriocin, the addition of Mn augmenting this increase further. The incorporation of tryptone gave no additional effect. In beaker sausage, both L. innocua and S. aureus populations showed significant reductions (P < 0.05) in the presence of the bacteriocinogenic strain compared to a non-bacteriocinogenic control strain. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.