INAC 2009, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
The following growth media were used: standard agar for counting (SAC) HAMB andPAHB, Man, Rogosa and Sharp (MRS) agar for
spp., and Fluorocult broth forenumeration of total and thermotolerant coliforms. Merck`s miniaturized methodology(2000), as modified by Franco e Mantilla (2004), was used for coliform enumeration. Itconsisted of employing automatic pippetors connected to sterilized pointers for preparationand inoculation of 0.1 mL (100µL) from different dilutions into 1 mL (1000µL) of Fluorocultselective broth. Also used were 900 µL of peptonized saline solution at 0.1% for serialdilutions and an eppendorf (rather than 9 mL of solution).Sample preparation required 162 mL of peptonized saline solution (PSS) at 0.1% for dilutionto 10
followed by homogenization in a stomacher. Serial dilutions to 10
were thenperformed. After in-depth sowing, the plates were incubated at 35-37°C for 24 to 48 hours,excepting those prepared for counting of PAHB, that were kept in refrigerators at 4° C for 7to 10 days.A Quebec-type colony counter provided readings of counts while inspection of morphological and tinctorial characteristics led to the identification of the type of bacteria. Inaddition, enumeration readings of coliforms were obtained in ultraviolet light inside a dark room. The presence of thermotolerant coliforms was confirmed by adding the Kovacs reagentfor the indol test. The Most Probable Number (MPN) was determined by using Mac Crady`stable and multiplying the result by 10 in order to account for the fact that inoculation was 10times smaller than the standard.In the second phase of experiments, fillet samples were obtained in the same conditions as inphase 1 out of 2 kg of fresh chicken breast, however different doses of radiation and packingatmospheres were tested yielding four sets of samples: 1) air-packed, irradiated with 2 kGy;2) vacuum-packed, irradiated with 2 kGy; 3) air-packed, irradiated with 3 kGy and 4)vacuum-packed, irradiated with 3 kGy. The analyses performed were the same as those inphase 1.Due to the fact that the bacterial populations in the beginning of the two phases weredifferent, normalization to the initial reading of each phase was applied to all data of thecorresponding phase so that the bacterial growth during both phases could be compared anddescribed according to the modified Gompertz`s equation (Gibson, et. al., 1987) by using aspecial computer program (Baranyi and Roberts, 1994).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The results obtained in this work are listed in Figure 1 and Table 1. The figures listed as shelf life correspond to the time needed for the bacterial limit enforced by legislation (10
UFC/g)to be reached. The findings indicate that the post-irradiation lag phase increased with dose,leading to an extension in shelf life. Similar results were also found by Spoto et al. (2000),who concluded that irradiation can efficiently be used in the preservation of chicken meat.
The samples found to exhibit the longest shelf lives were those that were vacuum-packed and