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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PATHOGEN REDUCTION AND OPTIMIZATION OF WATER USAGE IN POULTRY PROCESSING OPERATIONS

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Title: Microbicidal activity of lauric acid towards micoorganisms associated with poultry processing

Author
item Hinton, Jr, Arthur

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 10, 2008
Publication Date: October 23, 2008
Citation: Hinton Jr, A. 2008. Microbicidal activity of lauric acid towards micoorganisms associated with poultry processing. Meeting Proceedings. p.1-9.

Interpretive Summary: Poultry processors use a variety of chemicals to reduce the contamination of chicken meat by harmful bacteria. Despite the use of these chemical sanitizers, processed raw chicken continues to be a significant source of human foodborne diseases. Harmful bacteria that cause human foodborne diseases and bacteria that cause spoilage of fresh, refrigerated chicken meat are routinely isolated from raw chicken. Therefore, researchers continue to seek safe compounds that can be used to reduce contamination of raw chicken meat. Fatty acids are naturally occurring compounds that can kill undesirable bacteria associated with poultry processing. Also, fatty acids are non-toxic, and they have a long history of safe use as cleansers and food preservatives. Furthermore, when these fatty acids are combined with alkaline compounds, they form soaps that can wash bacteria from surfaces as well as kill the microorganisms. This article summarizes studies done on the fatty acid, lauric acid. Lauric acid is the major fat found in coconut oil. Studies are described that examine the ability of lauric acid to kill bacteria in suspensions, on chicken skin, and on whole chicken carcasses.

Technical Abstract: Poultry processors use various chemicals as sanitizers to reduce microbial contamination of processed broiler carcasses. Despite the use of these chemical sanitizers and other procedures, processed poultry continues to be a significant source of human foodborne diseases. Pathogenic bacteria, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, are routinely isolated from processed poultry, while enteric bacteria such as, Escherichia coli are also present. Additionally, psychrotrophic Pseudomonas bacteria and yeasts that cause spoilage of fresh, refrigerated poultry can be found in the native bacterial flora of processed poultry. Fatty acids are naturally occurring microbicides that have little or no human toxicity, and they have a long history of safe use as cleansers and food preservatives. Research has indicated that the antimicrobial activity of mixtures of potassium triphosphate (TPP) and fatty acids can reduce populations of microorganisms in vitro and on skin of processed broiler carcasses. Furthermore, the potassium and sodium salts of the fatty acids (soaps), which are formed by combining potassium hydroxide (KOH) or sodium hydroxide (NaOH) with fatty acids, also possess antimicrobial activity. In this article, studies on the antibacterial activity of lauric acid dissolved in TPP or KOH in vitro, on poultry skin, and on poultry carcasses are discussed.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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