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How High-dose Irradiation Affects Quality of Ready-to-eat Broiler Breast Fillets

13 December 2014

High-dose irradiation of chicken breast fillets followed by storage at room temperature shows potential for the safe preservation of ready-to-eat products, according to new research from Brazil.

The effect of high-dose irradiation on the physical, chemical, and bacteriological parameters of ready-to-eat vacuum-packed broiler breast meat after 430 days of storage at room temperature was investigated by R.F. Baptista of Fluminense Federal University in Niterói and co-authors there and Army Technological Center (CTEx) in Rio de Janeiro.

In their paper in Poultry Science, ready-to-eat broiler breast fillets were immersed in brine with garlic powder and then drained, grilled and vacuum-packed (primary packaging). The high-dose irradiation used was approximately 48kGy.

The treatments were designated as:

  • A (irradiated samples stored at room temperature)
  • B (irradiated samples stored at −25°C) and
  • C (non-irradiated samples stored at −25°C).

All samples were packaged in polyethylene bags containing aluminum to exclude light (secondary packaging).

Proximate composition, pH, 2-thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), and heterotrophic aerobic mesophilic bacteria were analysed during 430 days of storage. Results were analysed using 1-way ANOVA and the Tukey test. Linear regression was used to analyse the correlation between the results for each parameter and storage time of the different treatments.

The gamma radiation caused slight changes (P<0.05) in the moisture and fat content, regardless of storage temperature.

After storage day 110, TBARS values remained stable (P>0.05) in all the treatments.

The preservation methods used were effective in maintaining the mesophilic counts below the detection level during the entire storage period.

Baptista and co-authors concluded that, among the treatments studied, high-dose irradiation with storage at room temperature showed potential for the preservation of ready-to-eat products made from poultry meat, to provide foods safe for consumption.


Baptista R.F., C.E. Teixeira, M. Lemos, M.L.G. Monteiro, H.C. Vital, E.T. Mársico, C.A. Conte Júnior and S.B. Mano. 2014. Effect of high-dose irradiation on quality characteristics of ready-to-eat broiler breast fillets stored at room temperature. Poultry Science. 93: 2651-2656. doi: 10.3382/ps.2014-03980

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November 2014

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