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Effects of irradiation on the shelf-life and quality of vacuum-packaged beef steaks

 

A study published in the Meat Science journal by Chinese Researchers evaluated the effects of different doses (0, 4, 8, 12, 16 kGy) of low-energy electron beam (LEEB; 0.2 MeV) on the quality changes of vacuum-packaged beef steaks during chilled storage for 21 days.

LEEB irradiation at a low dose (4 and 8 kGy) significantly elevated the L* values of steaks, and did not deteriorate the a* values, the oxidation of lipid and protein (P> 0.05) compared to non-irradiated samples. LEEB irradiation (4 and 8 kGy) also significantly reduced the bacterial loads compared with non-irradiated steak, which may be due to the inactivation effect on Acinetobacter, Brochothrix thermosphacta, Carnobacterium divergens, Leuconostoc and Serratia during storage. Albeit all doses retained more acceptable sensory characteristics compared to non-irradiated samples, LEEB irradiation with >8 kGy significantly reduced the L* values and promoted protein oxidation. 

Overall, the LEEB irradiation with 4-8 kGy could be used as a promising innovative technology for extending the shelf-life of vacuum-packaged chilled beef steaks. 

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