The effects of different commercial starter cultures (Staphylococcus carnosus, S. carnosus + Lactobacillus pentosus and Staphylococcus xylosus + Lactobacillus sakei), on myofibrillar proteins were investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) during the processing of pastirma. The stage of pastirma production significantly decreased the thermal stabilities of myosin and actin. Actin was less affected than myosin. The myofibrillar fraction of pastirma was hardly denaturated by S. carnosus, but more pronounced denaturation was obtained with S. carnosus + L. pentosus. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.