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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #294706

Title: Nonthermal plasma system for extending shelf life of raw broiler breast fillets

item Kronn, Taylor
item Lawrence, Kurt
item Zhuang, Hong
item Hiett, Kelli
item Rothrock, Michael
item HUANG, YAO-WEN - University Of Georgia
item KEENER, KEVIN - Purdue University
item Abdo, Zaid

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2015
Publication Date: 3/1/2015
Citation: Kronn, T.G., Lawrence, K.C., Zhuang, H., Hiett, K.L., Rothrock Jr, M.J., Huang, Y., Keener, K.M., Abdo, Z. 2015. Nonthermal plasma system for extending shelf life of raw broiler breast fillets. Transactions of the ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers). 58(2):493-500. DOI 10.13031/trans.58.10887.

Interpretive Summary: Rapid spoilage of fresh chicken meat is a significant concern as it can cause safety problems and lead to financial losses for producers and consumers. Based on the need for a post-packaging, antimicrobial treatment for chicken meat, a system was developed to fill this void. A nonthermal, antimicrobial treatment system was developed to reduce microorganisms on the surface of chicken breast fillets. The system used high voltages, aluminum electrodes, and plastic barriers to treat packaged chicken meat. Great care was taken in selecting the insulating materials and operating parameters for the system so that consistent results could be achieved. To test system efficacy, a shelf life experiment was conducted. The boneless, skinless, chicken breast fillets were treated in the nonthermal plasma system and stored for 14 days. Microbial recovery was used to determine product freshness. After 14 days, the fillets were not spoiled compared to the untreated controls which means the system was to extend shelf life by approximately 7 days according to scientific literature for fresh chicken meat; the reduction of the microorganisms on the surface of the meat aided in extending the shelf life. The antimicrobial treatment occurred after packaging with protects the product from cross contamination and can be appealing to both producers and consumers.

Technical Abstract: A nonthermal dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma system was developed and enhanced to treat broiler breast fillets (BBF) in order to improve the microbial quality of the meat. The system consisted of a high-voltage source and two parallel, round-aluminum electrodes separated by three semi-rigid polypropylene barriers extending well beyond the electrodes. The broiler sample was packaged in sealed polyolefin plastic bags to allow for adequate gas volume in the package. A modified atmosphere (MA) blend of gas (65% O2, 30% CO2, 5% N2) was used to enhance the generation of reactive oxygen species during treatment. Since numerous variables affect consistent and reproducible ionization within the plastic bag, the dielectric barrier and electrode assembly were designed such that the electrodes were parallel, the separation was fixed, and the plastic bag maintained uniform contact with the dielectric barriers throughout the ionization field. Voltage, current, and power were monitored throughout treatment to maintain consistent settings. This research investigates the ability of this plasma system to extend shelf life of BBF by reducing the number of spoilage bacteria. The system was tested on BBF and compared to triplicate untreated controls. Samples were treated outside the plasma generation field at ambient air temperature and pressure for 3 min at 75 kV then stored at 4°C. Surviving microbes were recovered on days 1, 3, 7, 10, and 14 via rinsing and plating on nutrient agar. There was a mean log reduction of 1.53 log10 cfu/ml after 24 hours. After 14 days of storage, the treated samples had a mean log of 5.56 log10 cfu/ml which was 2.43 cfu/ml lower than the control packaged in air and 1.52 log10 cfu/ml lower than the control packaged in MA. A level of 5.56 log10 cfu/ml falls below the generally accepted spoilage limit of 107. Results demonstrate the ability of nonthermal DBD system to reduce natural microflora on the surface of BBF and its applications in food safety and shelf-life extension.