Meat antimicrobial developed from nut processing by-product

Thursday, 05 December, 2013


Organic meat processors could have a new weapon in the war on Listeria growth on meat. A recent study published in the Journal of Food Science shows that antimicrobials extracted from pecan shells protect meat against Listeria growth.

Roasted and unroasted organic pecan shells were subjected to solvent-free extraction to produce antimicrobials, which were tested against Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes serotypes to determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of antimicrobials. The antimicrobials’ effectiveness was further tested using a poultry skin model system; the growth inhibition of the Listeria cells adhered onto the skin model were identified.

The researchers found that the extracts inhibited Listeria strains at MICs as low as 0.38%. The antimicrobial effectiveness tests on a poultry skin model exhibited nearly a 2 log reduction of the inoculated mix of Listeria strains when extracts of pecan shell powder were used. The extracts also produced greater than a 4 log reduction of the indigenous spoilage bacteria on the chicken skin.

“The pecan shell extracts may prove to be very effective alternative antimicrobials against food pathogens and supplement the demand for effective natural antimicrobials for use in organic meat processing,” the authors wrote.

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