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Munkhnasan Enkhbold Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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Attila Lőrincz VADEX Mezőföldi Erdő- és Vadgazdálkodási Zrt., Petőfi Sándor st. 275, H-8123 Soponya, Hungary

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Majd Elayan Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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László Friedrich Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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Attila Solymosi Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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Balázs Wieszt Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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Kornél Jáni Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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Adrienn Tóth Department of Livestock and Food Preservation Technology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Menesi st. 44, H-1118 Budapest, Hungary

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Abstract

This study investigates the effect of 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture on the quality parameters of red deer meat and beef. After treatment samples were stored at 4 ± 1 °C. The following meat quality parameters were evaluated: pH, color, and microbiological count on days 1, 7, 14, and 21. The results showed that at the end of the experiment, the pH of the treated samples was slightly higher than the non-treated samples, indicating that the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture had a mild acidifying effect on the meat. The color of the treated and non-treated samples did not show any significant difference. However, the microbiological count in the treated samples was lower than the non-treated samples. These findings suggest that an acid mixture could be used as a natural preservative to enhance the microbial safety of red deer meat and beef.

Abstract

This study investigates the effect of 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture on the quality parameters of red deer meat and beef. After treatment samples were stored at 4 ± 1 °C. The following meat quality parameters were evaluated: pH, color, and microbiological count on days 1, 7, 14, and 21. The results showed that at the end of the experiment, the pH of the treated samples was slightly higher than the non-treated samples, indicating that the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture had a mild acidifying effect on the meat. The color of the treated and non-treated samples did not show any significant difference. However, the microbiological count in the treated samples was lower than the non-treated samples. These findings suggest that an acid mixture could be used as a natural preservative to enhance the microbial safety of red deer meat and beef.

1 Introduction

Red deer round and beef round are two types of meat that are highly valued for their flavor and nutritional value. However, bacterial contamination can lead to spoilage and reduced shelf life of these meats (Jay et al., 2005). The use of organic acids as a meat preservative is a promising solution to this problem. Extensive research has been conducted on organic acids for their ability to enhance the quality of meat products. This study has been shown to have antimicrobial properties and can improve meat quality parameters, such as tenderness, color, and shelf life (Naveena et al., 2006). Specifically, lactic acid and ascorbic acid have been found to be effective in reducing the growth of pathogenic bacteria and improving the overall quality of meat (Carpenter et al., 2011). Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, has been used as an antioxidant to prevent the oxidation of fats and proteins in meat, which can lead to spoilage (Dave and Ghaly, 2011). Several previous studies have investigated the use of organic acids to preserve red deer meat and beef.

Despite these previous studies, there is still limited research on the use of a combination of lactic acid and ascorbic acid to preserve red deer meat and beef. This study aims to fill this gap by investigating and comparing the effect of a 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture on the quality parameters of red deer meat and beef. By comparing the results of this study with previous research, a better understanding can be gained of the potential for using organic acid mixtures as a natural preservative to enhance the microbial safety of red deer meat and beef.

2 Materials and methods

2.1 Sample preparation

Fresh samples of beef and red deer rounds were procured from a local processing facility and transported to the laboratory packed in polyethylene bags under chilled condition at 4 ± 1 °C. The samples were then sliced into steaks (approximately 10 × 5 × 1.5 cm) of comparable size. Subsequently, the steaks were divided into two groups, namely the control group and the treatment group, using a random assignment. The control group steaks were vacuum-packed in polyethylene bags and stored in a refrigerated cabinet at 4 ± 1 °C, while the treatment group steaks were treated with mixture of 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid, sprayed on both the bottom and top surfaces of the steaks at room temperature. The concentration of the solutions applied was 1% in relation to the initial weight of the meat, with 2 g of solution used for 200 g of meat. After the treatment, all the samples were vacuum-packaged and placed in cold storage at a temperature of 4 ± 1 °C for a period of 21 days. The evaluation of quality parameters was conducted on days 1, 7, 14, and 21 of the storage periods.

2.2 pH measurement

The pH measurement of both the treated and non-treated beef and red deer meat samples was performed using a one-hand pH meter (Testo, Model 206-pH2, UK). The pH measurements were measured three times for each sample directly from the muscles. Prior to the measurements, the pH meter was calibrated using buffer solutions with pH values of 4.0 and 7.0.

2.3 Color measurement

The surface color of the beef and red deer meat were measured using a Chroma Meter CR-400 (Konica Minolta, Inc., Osaka, Japan). Prior to each measurement, the chroma meter was calibrated with a white tile according to the manufacturer's instructions. For each sample, 20 replicate measures were taken, covering the entire surface area of the meat samples in the vacuum package. The measurements included the values for L* (lightness), a* (redness), and b* (yellowness).

2.4 Microbiological evaluation

10 g of meat samples were accurately weighed and mixed with 90 mL of buffered peptone water. The resulting homogenate was subjected to serial 10-fold dilution. From the appropriate dilution, 0.1 mL of the sample was transferred into duplicate plates for the Aerobic Plate Count (APC) using nutrient agar through the pour plate method. The plates were then incubated at 37 °C for 48 h (ICMSF, 1986). Following incubation, the colonies were counted, and the results were reported as colony-forming units per gram of meat (CFU g−1).

2.5 Statistical analysis

To evaluate the influence of the treated and non-treated methods on the quality of beef (n = 8) and red deer meat (n = 8) samples, a statistical analysis was carried out using IBM SPSS27 (Armonk, NY 2020) as the statistical software. The data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA). ANOVA was used for statistical analysis, focusing on the effects of the acidic treatment and storage period factors and post hoc analysis was performed using Tukey's HSD test. Before ANOVA, we checked for homogeneity (Levene's test) and normality (Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk test). Some color attributes and aerobic plate count showed slight deviations, likely due to the non-normal distribution of microorganisms in foods and the influence of fat tissues on color. Despite these limitations, ANOVA was applied to assess results statistically. Statistical significance was determined at a significance level of P < 0.05.

3 Results and discussion

3.1 pH measurement

The results showed (Table 1) variations in pH values between the treated and non-treated samples, as well as differences between the two meat types. The pH results of the study indicate that there were no significant differences between the treated and non-treated samples in both beef and red deer meat. However, some minor variations were observed between the two groups at different time points.

Table 1.

Effect of lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture and vacuum packaging on pH values of beef and red deer meat samples during retail display at 4 ± 1 °C

DayTreatmentBeefDeer
pH
1Treated5.48 ± 0.07b5.60 ± 0.03b
Non-treated5.59 ± 0.10b5.68 ± 0.03b
7Treated5.44 ± 0.15b5.57 ± 0.02b
Non-treated5.54 ± 0.04b5.56 ± 0.04b
14Treated5.25 ± 0.06a5.33 ± 0.06a
Non-treated5.24 ± 0.10a5.38 ± 0.05a
21Treated5.10 ± 0.07a5.38 ± 0.04a
Non-treated5.06 ± 0.05a5.31 ± 0.16a

abDifferent letters are for significantly different groups of treatment (Tukey, p < 0.05).

Data are recorded as Mean ± Standard Error.

Treated (sprayed with 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture).

On Day 1, the average pH values of the treated samples were slightly lower than those of the non-treated samples in both beef and red deer meat, though the difference was not significant with the given sample numbers. This slight difference could be attributed to the mild acidifying effect of the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture used in the treatment. The 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture pH was 2.8. These results align with previous research by Carpenter et al. (2011), who reported similar trends in pH reduction in meat samples treated with lactic acid and ascorbic acid individually.

The significant decrease in pH during the storage time of both types of meat can be attributed to several biochemical and microbial processes. Meat pH changes with the increasing bacterial population. As stated by Gill (1983), that the pH of beef with increasing bacterial growth was decreased.

3.2 Color measurement

The instrumental color analysis results (Table 2) demonstrate that there were no significant differences observed between the treated and non-treated samples of both beef and red deer meat in terms of color parameters except beef day one L* and red deer meat day 14 L* values. This indicates that the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture treatment did not have a noticeable effect on the color characteristics of the meat samples.

Table 2.

Values of instrumental texture parameters of vacuum packed treated and non-treated beef and deer meat samples during 21 days of retail display at 4 ± 1 °C

DayTreatmentBeefDeer
L*a*b*L*a*b*
1Treated35.12 ± 2.55c10.13 ± 0.85a2.60 ± 0.79ab30.23 ± 1.60c9.36 ± 0.61a2.01 ± 0.25ab
Non-treated31.47 ± 1.40a11.39 ± 0.89a1.49 ± 0.27a30.25 ± 1.40c9.16 ± 0.61a2.15 ± 0.50abc
7Treated32.15 ± 2.38ab11.59 ± 0.72ab1.85 ± 0.39a29.08 ± 1.62b9.58 ± 0.62a2.35 ± 0.42bc
Non-treated30.22 ± 1.70a12.80 ± 1.16b1.52 ± 0.43a29.37 ± 1.82b10.03 ± 0.42ab2.16 ± 0.17abc
14Treated33.07 ± 2.11b13.39 ± 0.50c2.57 ± 0.48ab27.51 ± 1.39a11.12 ± 0.57c2.05 ± 0.39abc
Non-treated32.92 ± 1.37b14.06 ± 0.87c2.16 ± 0.65ab29.98 ± 1.97bc11.28 ± 0.78c1.77 ± 0.50a
21Treated33.59 ± 1.97b11.58 ± 0.68ab3.32 ± 0.42b28.60 ± 1.92ab11.02 ± 0.85bc2.42 ± 0.39bc
Non-treated34.72 ± 1.77c12.83 ± 0.74b3.01 ± 0.32b29.45 ± 1.37b11.79 ± 0.87c2.43 ± 0.21c

abcDifferent letters are for significantly different groups of treatment (Tukey, p < 0.05).

Data are recorded as Mean ± Standard Error.

Treated (sprayed with 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture).

The lack of significant differences in color parameters such as lightness (L*), redness (a*), and yellowness (b*) between the treated and non-treated samples suggests that the organic acid mixture did not induce any discernible changes in the overall color appearance of the meat. These findings are consistent with previous study that reported similar result when evaluating the effect of organic acid treatments on meat color (Carpenter et al., 2011).

3.3 Microbiological evaluation

The microbiological evaluation was conducted to compare the microbial load in both beef and red deer meat samples that were treated with lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture and non-treated samples (Table 3).

Table 3.

Effect of lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture on aerobic plate count (log cfu g−1) of vacuum-packed beef and red deer meat samples during 21 days of retail display at 4 ± 1 °C

DayTreatmentBeefDeer
1Treated3.34 ± 0.34a3.39 ± 0.21a
Non-treated3.26 ± 0.23a3.25 ± 0.22a
7Treated3.45 ± 0.45a3.57 ± 0.36ab
Non-treated3.64 ± 0.37ab3.38 ± 0.31a
14Treated4.14 ± 0.29b4.19 ± 0.52b
Non-treated4.00 ± 0.45b4.01 ± 0.41b
21Treated4.90 ± 0.55c5.30 ± 0.56c
Non-treated4.27 ± 0.35b4.55 ± 0.41b

abcDifferent letters are for significantly different groups of treatment (Tukey, p < 0.05).

Data are recorded as Mean ± Standard Error.

Treated (sprayed with 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture).

In both beef and deer meat samples, there were no significant differences observed between the treated and non-treated samples until day 14. This suggests that the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture treatment had a mild inhibitory effect on the microbial growth in both types of meat during the initial storage period. However, on days 14–21, a significant difference was observed between the treated and non-treated samples. The treated samples exhibited a significantly lower microbial count compared to the non-treated samples. This indicates that the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture treatment had a pronounced effect in reducing the microbial load in both beef and red deer meat after an extended storage period.

Comparing the beef and red deer meat samples until day 21, there were no significant differences in terms of microbial load. This suggests that both types of meat responded similarly to the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture treatment in terms of microbial inhibition during the evaluated period.

These findings are consistent with previous researches that demonstrated the antimicrobial effects of lactic acid and ascorbic acid treatments on meat products (Enkhbold et al., 2023; Friedrich et al., 2008). These studies have reported reductions in microbial counts and improved microbial safety in meat samples treated with organic acids.

4 Conclusion

In conclusion, the study investigated the effect of a 2% lactic acid and 2% ascorbic acid mixture on the quality parameters of beef and red deer meat samples. The results showed no significant differences in color between treated and non-treated samples. However, the treated samples exhibited a significantly lower microbial count on day 21 compared to non-treated samples. Overall, the lactic acid and ascorbic acid mixture shows promise as a natural preservative, effectively reducing microbial load in both meat types without adverse effects on color. Further research can optimize the application of these organic acids in meat preservation.

Acknowledgements

The research was supported by the Doctoral School of Food Science of Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

References

  • Carpenter, C.E., Smith, J.V., and Broadbent, J.R. (2011). Efficacy of washing meat surfaces with 2% levulinic, acetic, or lactic acid for pathogen decontamination and residual growth inhibition. Meat Science, 88(2): 256260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2010.12.032.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dave, D. and Ghaly, A.E. (2011). Meat spoilage mechanisms and preservation techniques: a critical review. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 6(4): 486510: ISSN 15574989.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Enkhbold, M., Lőrincz, A., Elayan, M., Friedrich, L., Surányi, J., and Tóth, A. (2023). Improvement of shelf-life of beef using lactic acid, ascorbic acid mixture and potassium sorbate. Journal of Hygienic Engineering and Design, 42: 4550: ISSN 18578489.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Friedrich, L., Siró, I., Dalmadi, I., Horváth, K., Ágoston, R., and Balla, C. (2008). Influence of various preservatives on the quality of minced beef under modified atmosphere at chilled storage. Meat Science, 79(2): 332343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2007.10.012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gill, C.O. (1983). Meat spoilage and evaluation of the potential storage life of fresh meat. Journal of Food Protection, 46(5): 444452. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X-46.5.444.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • International Association of Microbiological Societies International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, & Roberts, T.A. (1986). Microorganisms in foods: sampling for microbiological analysis, principles and specific applications. Blackie Acad. & Professional.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jay, J.M., Loessner, M.J., and Golden, D.A. (2005). Modern food microbiology. Springer Science & Business Media.

  • Naveena, B.M., Muthukumar, M., Sen, A.R., Babji, Y., and Murthy, T.R.K. (2006). Improvement of shelf-life of buffalo meat using lactic acid, clove oil and vitamin C during retail display. Meat Science, 74(2): 409415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.04.020.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carpenter, C.E., Smith, J.V., and Broadbent, J.R. (2011). Efficacy of washing meat surfaces with 2% levulinic, acetic, or lactic acid for pathogen decontamination and residual growth inhibition. Meat Science, 88(2): 256260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2010.12.032.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dave, D. and Ghaly, A.E. (2011). Meat spoilage mechanisms and preservation techniques: a critical review. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 6(4): 486510: ISSN 15574989.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Enkhbold, M., Lőrincz, A., Elayan, M., Friedrich, L., Surányi, J., and Tóth, A. (2023). Improvement of shelf-life of beef using lactic acid, ascorbic acid mixture and potassium sorbate. Journal of Hygienic Engineering and Design, 42: 4550: ISSN 18578489.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Friedrich, L., Siró, I., Dalmadi, I., Horváth, K., Ágoston, R., and Balla, C. (2008). Influence of various preservatives on the quality of minced beef under modified atmosphere at chilled storage. Meat Science, 79(2): 332343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2007.10.012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gill, C.O. (1983). Meat spoilage and evaluation of the potential storage life of fresh meat. Journal of Food Protection, 46(5): 444452. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X-46.5.444.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • International Association of Microbiological Societies International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, & Roberts, T.A. (1986). Microorganisms in foods: sampling for microbiological analysis, principles and specific applications. Blackie Acad. & Professional.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jay, J.M., Loessner, M.J., and Golden, D.A. (2005). Modern food microbiology. Springer Science & Business Media.

  • Naveena, B.M., Muthukumar, M., Sen, A.R., Babji, Y., and Murthy, T.R.K. (2006). Improvement of shelf-life of buffalo meat using lactic acid, clove oil and vitamin C during retail display. Meat Science, 74(2): 409415. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2006.04.020.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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Editor(s)-in-Chief: Felföldi, József

Chair of the Editorial Board Szendrő, Péter

Editorial Board

  • Beke, János (Szent István University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineerin, Gödöllő – Hungary)
  • Fenyvesi, László (Szent István University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Gödöllő – Hungary)
  • Szendrő, Péter (Szent István University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Gödöllő – Hungary)
  • Felföldi, József (Szent István University, Faculty of Food Science, Budapest – Hungary)

 

Advisory Board

  • De Baerdemaeker, Josse (KU Leuven, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Leuven - Belgium)
  • Funk, David B. (United States Department of Agriculture | USDA • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), Kansas City – USA
  • Geyer, Martin (Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Department of Horticultural Engineering, Potsdam - Germany)
  • Janik, József (Szent István University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Gödöllő – Hungary)
  • Kutzbach, Heinz D. (Institut für Agrartechnik, Fg. Grundlagen der Agrartechnik, Universität Hohenheim – Germany)
  • Mizrach, Amos (Institute of Agricultural Engineering. ARO, the Volcani Center, Bet Dagan – Israel)
  • Neményi, Miklós (Széchenyi University, Department of Biosystems and Food Engineering, Győr – Hungary)
  • Schulze-Lammers, Peter (University of Bonn, Institute of Agricultural Engineering (ILT), Bonn – Germany)
  • Sitkei, György (University of Sopron, Institute of Wood Engineering, Sopron – Hungary)
  • Sun, Da-Wen (University College Dublin, School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, Agriculture and Food Science, Dublin – Ireland)
  • Tóth, László (Szent István University, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Gödöllő – Hungary)

Prof. Felföldi, József
Institute: MATE - Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Institute of Food Science and Technology, Department of Measurements and Process Control
Address: 1118 Budapest Somlói út 14-16
E-mail: felfoldi.jozsef@uni-mate.hu

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