Novel packaging extends shelf-life of chicken

Peels from four different mango varieties were used for the study

Updated - June 23, 2018 05:07 pm IST

Published - June 23, 2018 05:05 pm IST

Mango peel can serve as a good antioxidant, says Sweetie Kanatt,

Mango peel can serve as a good antioxidant, says Sweetie Kanatt,

Now, chicken kept in the chiller of the fridge may remain fresh and without any bacterial contamination for up to two weeks thanks to researchers from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. The researchers have developed a new eco-friendly food-packaging material using mango peel extracts and three other biodegradable polymers to extend the shelf-life of chicken. The packaging film showed good antimicrobial properties against common food microbes and also exhibited high antioxidant characteristics.

Peels from four different mango varieties were used for the study — Alphonso, Kesar, Langra and Badami. The peel content was extracted using different techniques and the bioactive properties, antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of the extracts were studied.

Amongst the four mango peel varieties studied, the Langra variety extract exhibited the highest inhibition against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas fluorescens. It was also rich in bioactive compounds like phenolics and carotenoids and thus had high degree of antioxidant capacity.

The packaging films were then made using the Langra extract (5%), polyvinyl alcohol, gelatin and cyclodextrin. “All the ingredients are biodegradable, and the new film can be a viable option for developing new eco-friendly packaging material. Also, India is one of the highest producers of mango, and the peel, which is usually thrown away, has higher phenolic content than the pulp and can serve as a good antioxidant,” explains Dr. Sweetie R. Kanatt, Senior Scientific Officer from the Food Technology Division of the Centre and first author of the paper published in Journal of Food Safety.

The packaging film was 150 microns in thickness and exhibited good tensile and puncture strength. The package was then tested for storing minced chicken meat.

The meat was stored at 2–4˚C and tested every three days. The meat packed using the mango peel film was able to keep the meat fresh and without spoilage for up to 12 days whereas the ones packed in normal polythene bag got spoilt within three days.

“Meat has high lipid content that is prone to oxidation on storage/processing. We wanted to check how the film preserved the meat from both microbial spoilage and oxidative rancidity,” adds Dr. Kanatt. “Increase in shelf life as well as safety of the meat will be a boon to the food processer as they can store this meat in chilled rather than frozen state. Film preparation methods are being fine-tuned for possible commercial applications.”

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