Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


Karin E. Allen


Shelf life of meat and meat products depends on the quality of meat and packaging stability. Meat color change, lipid oxidation, pH, and microbial contamination are the main causes that affect the nutritional, sensory, and physical characteristics by forming toxic compounds, off flavors, off odors, and undesirable color. The first objective of this study was to examine the effect of newly developed CO2 generating absorbent pads on beef, tuna and chicken meats. The second objective was to compare the effect of Type I (radical quenching) antioxidants eugenol and rosmarinic acid (RA) to that of Type II (metal chelating) antioxidants milk mineral (MM), phytate, and sodium tri-polyphosphate (STPP) in raw ground chicken patties. In the first study samples of beef semitendinosus muscle, boneless and skinless chicken breast, and yellowfin tuna loins were chosen and packaged with four different pad types. Red meats and chicken exhibited trends as would normally be expected during storage. Specifically, color became less appealing (beef and tuna color changed from red to brown, and chicken changed from yellow–pink to grey); pH increased, microbial counts increased, and lipid oxidation (rancidity) increased. Lightness (L*) values for chicken were within 46 – 54, for tuna L* value range was 21-26. Redness/greenness (a*) is an indicator of freshness in red meats, and for beef steaks an average value of 12.32 was noted on day 8, indicative of fresh red color. Recorded average lipid oxidation (TBA values in mg/kg of meat) for chicken (< 0.19 mg/kg) and tuna were low (< 0.16 mg/kg) and for beef (1.06 mg/kg). Even though there was a significant effect of storage time (P < 0.05) as expected, no significant (P >0.05) differences were observed between the four tested pad types over the 8-day testing period.

In study 2, (Chapter 4) a significant antioxidant effect (P < 0.05) was observed in L* values of ground chicken color between treatments. Milk mineral effectively preserved fresh color and slowed lipid oxidation in chicken patties by day 10. Inverse correlations (P < 0.001) were observed between pH (increasing), and lightness, redness values (decreasing) from day 1 through 10. Increased pH levels from slightly acidic to basic or physiological pH resulted in high numbers for total aerobic plate-counts. There was a significant antioxidant effect on lipid oxidation values by day 10; eugenol and MM were more effective (P < 0.05) than STPP in controlling lipid oxidation measured as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (0.198 mg/kg, 0.198 mg/kg, and 0.268 mg/kg, respectively). In conclusion, CO2 generating absorbent pads did not have a positive effect on meat quality, while the antioxidant milk mineral efficiently maintained color, and pH, and controlled lipid oxidation and limited the growth of aerobic bacteria when compared to other antioxidants.