Sausages with added Staphylococcus xylosus were fermented at different temperatures and with different added levels of salt, glucose, nitrite, nitrate and Pediococcus pentosaceus in accordance with a six-factor fractional design. The amounts of individual amino acids were measured and the effects of temperature and different ingredients on the amino acid profile were tested wing multiple linear regression and analysis of variance. Also, the amino acid profile was correlated to the level of volatile compounds by partial least squares analysis. The study showed that the level of free amino acids was significantly affected by the different factors. High fermentation temperature and nitrite content increased the amount, while high contents of salt, nitrate, glucose and P. pentosaceus lowered the amount of free amino acids. In general, temperature and nitrate had the greatest influence. It was shown that the amounts of the volatile compounds, 2-methyl propanal, 2- and 3-methyl butanal, were inversely correlated with the amounts of valine, isoleucine and leucine, respectively, indicating that those volatiles were degradation products of the latter. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.