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J Food Prot. 1999 Aug;62(8):913-20.

Microbial shelf life determination of vacuum-packaged fresh beef treated with polylactic acid, lactic acid, and nisin solutions.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Missouri-Columbia, 65211, USA.


The effectiveness of polylactic acid, lactic acid, nisin, and combinations of the acids and nisin on extending the shelf-life of raw beef was determined. Fresh beef pieces (5 by 5 by 2.5 cm) were dipped in a solution of 2% low molecular weight polylactic acid (LMW-PLA), 2% lactic acid (LA), 200 IU of nisin per ml, or the combinations of nisin in either 2% LMW-PLA or 2% LA. The samples were then drip-dried, vacuum-packaged, and stored at 4 degrees C for up to 56 days. The beef surface pH values and numbers of psychrotrophic aerobic bacteria, psychrotrophic and mesophilic Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, and Lactobacillus were determined weekly for 56 days. The average surface pH values of the beef samples treated with 2% LMW-PLA or the combination of 200 IU of nisin per ml and 2% LMW-PLA were significantly reduced to 5.19 and 5.17, respectively, at day 0 (P < or = 0.05), while those decontaminated with 2% LA or 200 IU of nisin per ml in 2% LA solution were significantly decreased from 5.62 to 4.98 and 4.96, respectively. The 2% LMW-PLA, 2% LA, or the combinations of each acid and nisin showed immediate inhibitory effects on psychrotrophic aerobic bacteria (1.94, 2.36, 2.59, and 1.76 log reduction, respectively), psychrotrophic Enterobacteriaceae (1.37, 1.86, 1.77, and 1.35 log reduction, respectively), mesophilic Enterobacteriaceae (1.00, 1.00, 0.82, and 0.68 log reduction, respectively), and Pseudomonas (1.77, 1.57, 1.76, and 1.41 log reduction, respectively) on fresh beef (P < or = 0.05). The reduction was evident up to 56 days as seen by the numbers of Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas (P < or = 0.05). Because there was no interaction between treatments and storage times, the data in each period were combined and presented as effect of treatments on overall microbial counts of fresh beef. It was found that 2% LMW-PLA, 2% LA, and the combinations of each acid and nisin significantly lowered the population of the above organisms compared with the untreated control, water, or nisin alone (P < or = 0.05).

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