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Effect of modified atmosphere packaging and soluble gas stabilization on the shelf life of skinless chicken breast fillets

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Kjetil Aune

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kjetil.aune@nofima.no

Journal of Food Science ; Volume 71. 2006

Rotabakk, Bjørn Tore; Birkeland, Sveinung; Jeksrud, WK; Sivertsvik, Morten

The suitability of soluble gas stabilization (SGS) to dissolve CO, into skinless chicken breast fillets before modified atmosphere (MA) packaging (MAP) was investigated. Head space gas composition (%), top web deflation (mm), muscle surface color (Minolta L*a*b*), pH, exudates in the packages (%), microbial characteristics, and off-odor were assessed in the packaged fillets. Increased SGS treatment time (2 versus 12 h) before MA packaging increased the CO, content in the packaged fillets and counteracted package collapse. High package filling degree (51.8%) (low gas to product volume ratio) gave significantly (P < 0.001) lower CO, content in head space than normal filling degree (29.7%). Color, PH, and package exudates were not affected by SGS treatment. Aerobic plate count (APC), Enterbacteriaceae count (EC), and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) increased significantly (P < 0.001) at each sampling during storage (5, 11, 17, and 24 d). SGS treatment significantly (P < 0.015) decreased APC, EC, and Pseudomonas spp. counts (PC) compared with no SGS treatment. Filling degree did not have a significant effect on the investigated microbiological characteristics. Off-odor scores correlated highest with EC (r((adj))(2) = 0.82). Fillets SGS treated in 12 h were the only one not rejected at off-odor evaluation on day 24. The samples stored in air spoiled after 5 d. SGS treatment in combination with MAP can be used successfully on chicken breast fillets to improve the microbiological (APC, EC, and PC) and sensorial characteristics, and in addition reduce package collapse and possibly increase the filling degree.