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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 #357162

Research Project: Assessment and Improvement of Poultry Meat, Egg, and Feed Quality

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: In-package air cold plasma treatment of chicken-breast meat- treatment time effect

item Zhuang, Hong
item Rothrock, Michael
item Hiett, Kelli
item Lawrence, Kurt
item Gamble, Gary
item Bowker, Brian
item KEENER, KEVIN - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Journal of Food Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2018
Publication Date: 1/10/2019
Citation: Zhuang, H., Rothrock, M.J., Hiett, K.L., Lawrence, K.C., Gamble, G.R., Bowker, B.C., Keener, K. 2019. In-package air cold plasma treatment of chicken-breast meat- treatment time effect. Journal of Food Quality.

Interpretive Summary: Microbiological quality and safety of raw poultry meat has been a challenge for the poultry industry. Each year, millions of pounds of fresh poultry meat products are lost as a result of microbiological spoilage. In 2011, a potential Salmonella contamination resulted in a recall of 36 million pounds of ground raw turkey. In-package dielectric barrier discharge (DBD)-based atmospheric cold plasma (CP) is a new non-thermal antimicrobial technique for inactivating foodborne pathogens and extending shelf life of fresh food products A number of studies have documented the efficacy of the in-package DBD-based CP inactivation of microbes in food products. In this study, we investigated the effects of the CP treatments for different times on foodborne pathogenic and psychrophilic bacteria of packaged raw chicken breast meat. Our data demonstrate that an in-package DBD-based CP treatment can significantly reduce both spoilage (psychrophiles) and foodborne pathogen (Campylobacter and Salmonella) populations on raw breast meat packaged in air. The antimicrobial effectiveness against foodborne pathogens is not influenced by cold plasma treatment time (from 60 sec to 300 sec) at 70 kV. However, for spoilage microbes, treatment time may affect the effectiveness of the antimicrobial packaging system. The CP treatment may affect the appearance of raw meat by making the surface paler in color. Further research is needed to minimize the effect of in-package CP treatments on meat color before it can be applied to extend shelf life of fresh poultry breast meat.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of in-package dielectric barrier discharge (DBD)-based and atmospheric cold plasma (CP) on meat color, microbiological quality and safety of chicken breast meat (pectoralis major). Raw broiler breast meat was collected from a local commercial plant. Non-inoculated meat samples and meat samples inoculated with Campylobacter and Salmonella were packed in polymeric trays with air. The packaged samples were CP treated at 70 kV for different times (0, 60, 180, or 300 sec), and stored at 4oC for 5 days. Microbial counts (psychrophiles, Campylobacter, Salmonella) and meat color (International Commission on Illumination (CIE) L*a*b*) were measured before CP treatments and after 5 days of post-treatment storage. Psychrophile growth was inhibited (P < 0.05) and both foodborne pathogens were reduced (P < 0.05) by CP treatments regardless of treatment time. No differences in pathogenic bacterial counts were observed between the three treatment times; however, increasing treatment time beyand 60 sec resulted in additional inhibition of psychrophilic growth. There were no differences (P > 0.05) in a* and b* values between pre-treatment and post-treatment plus storage; however, all CP treatments resulted in increased L* value (P < 0.05). Results indicate that in-package CP treatments can be used to reduce both microbial spoilage and foodborne pathogen risks, which could increase microbial food safety, although it may result in an overall paler breast meat.