The Effects of Oxygen Scavengers on the Colour Stability of Fresh Beef Packaged Under Pure Carbon Dioxide Efeitos

do Uso de Absorvedores de Oxigênio sobre a Estabilidade da Cor da Carne Fresca Embalada sob Atmosfera de CO2 Puro SUMMARY
Modified atmosphere packaging (100% CO2) and oxygen scavengers were used to achieve a virtually oxygen-free atmosphere and to prevent metmyoglobin formation at the meat surface. Eight retail trays with eye of rump steaks (Gluteus medius) were over-wrapped in a high gas permeability film and packaged under pure CO2 in a low gas permeability masterpack. An oxygen scavenger was added to each masterpack in order to increase the colour stability of the fresh beef. Two types of commercial O2 scavenger with different O2scavenging capacity were studied. A control system without O2 scavengers inside the masterpack was also evaluated. The masterpacks were stored at 4±1oC for 7 and 14 days. After the seventh day of storage in MAP and exposure of the retail packs to air, the eye of rump steaks which had been stored in masterpacks with scavengers with a rated capacity for 420mL of O2, presented a transitory discolouration, but the steaks recovered their typical reddish surface colour during the subsequent storage period. After 14 days, the O 2 concentration inside the masterpacks was reduced to zero and the rump steaks reached their lowest discolouration level (0-5%), highest intensity of red (8.0) and highest values for redness (a*=21.18) of reblooming, when compared to steaks packaged with lower rated capacity scavengers (formulated to reduce 300mL of O2) or the control steaks. Both had comparable brown areas and failed to bloom. Colour differences were most noticeable after 14 days of storage, when the O2 concentration in the masterpacks with higher capacity scavengers was reduced to zero. After 14 days, all steaks with or without O2 scavengers had comparable counts (P<0.05) of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria (<106 CFU/g). These results indicated that the masterpack under 100% CO2 combined with O 2 scavengers could be an appropriate technique to preserve fresh beefsteaks at commercial storage temperatures.



Anna Cecilia VENTURINI

Depto. Tecnologia de Alimentos – UNICAMP Caixa Postal 6091 - 13081-970 Campinas, Brazil e-mail:

Carmen Contreras CASTILLO
Depto. Agroindústria, Alimentos e Nutrição - ESALQ-USP Caixa Postal 9 - 13418-900 Piracicaba, Brazil e-mail:

Centro de Tecnologia de Embalagens - ITAL Caixa Postal 139 - 13070-178 Campinas, Brazil

Centro de Tecnologia de Carnes - ITAL Caixa Postal 139 - 13070-178 Campinas, Brazil

Kátia Maria V. A. B. CIPOLLI Hana K. ARIMA

Atmosfera modificada (100% CO2) e absorvedores de oxigênio foram combinados para atingir uma atmosfera virtualmente livre de oxigênio e prevenir a formação de metamioglobina (marrom) na superfície da carne bovina fresca. Oito bandejas contendo bifes do miolo de alcatra (Gluteus medius) foram envoltas com um filme de alta permeabilidade a gases e acondicionadas em uma embalagem de transporte constituída por um filme plástico de baixa permeabilidade (masterpack). Imediatamente antes da termosselagem dos sacos, absorvedores de oxigênio foram adicionados no interior de cada masterpack e, em seguida, o ar foi evacuado e o CO2 puro injetado. Dois tipos comerciais de absorvedores de O 2, com diferentes capacidades de adsorção, foram avaliados. Foram também preparadas embalagens tipo masterpack com CO2 puro, porém sem absorvedores de O2, que foram consideradas como sistema controle. Os masterpacks foram estocados a 4±1oC por 7 e 14 dias. Após cada período de estocagem em atmosfera modificada, as embalagens de varejo foram retiradas do masterpack e expostas ao ar. Após 7 dias de estocagem, os bifes de alcatra acondicionados com absorvedores formulados para absorver 420mL de O2 apresentaram descoloração superficial apenas transitória, uma vez que, após 14 dias de estocagem, os bifes recobraram a cor vermelha superficial típica de carne fresca após re-oxigenação (reblooming). No 14o dia de estocagem, a concentração de O2 no interior destas embalagens foi reduzida a zero, com os bifes de alcatra atingindo a menor descoloração (0-5%), a maior intensidade de cor vermelha (8,0) e o maior valor de cor vermelha instrumental (a*=21,18), comparativamente aos demais tratamentos, onde o fenômeno de reblooming não foi observado. No 14o dia de estocagem, o número de bactérias psicrotróficas aeróbias e anaeróbias nos produtos de todos os tratamentos foram comparáveis (<106 UFC/g), independente do uso de absorvedores de oxigênio. Os resultados deste experimento indicaram que a embalagem em masterpack sob 100% CO2 associada ao uso de absorvedores de O 2 pode ser uma técnica promissora para a conservação de carne fresca bovina, sob temperaturas comerciais de estocagem.

Beefsteak; Modified atmosphere packaging; Masterpack; Shelf-life / Carne bovina; Atmosfera modificada; Masterpack; Vida útil.

Braz. J. Food Technol., v.7, n.2, p.155-159, jul./dez., 2004


Recebido / Received: 05/06/2002. Aprovado / Approved: 26/07/2004.

– CM508d). 1989)... The control masterpacks were evacuated.. filled with 3.. filled with pure CO2 and sealed with no O2 scavengers. GILL. After retail pack opening. 1996). J.155-159. 1991). LABUZA. USA). Cryovac) over a soak pad (DryLock. The overall steak quality was scored on a seven-point scale where 1 = very poor and 7 = excellent. A. The purple. It produces the characteristic purplish colour of vacuumpackaged beef meat. another commercial scavenger with a rated capacity of 420mL of O2 (S2) was added. MCGINNIS. Considering that the rate of oxygen uptake by commercial scavengers declines exponentially with the decrease in oxygen concentrations to below 1% (GILL. MATERIALS AND METHODS The Gluteus medius muscles from chilled carcasses of Nelore breed (Bos indicus) cattle were excised one day after slaughter and vacuum packaged. such as gluteus medius. In the first treatment. the punctured area was sealed. 6 = 35-100% discolouration. 75% R. 4 = 15-25% discolouration. The illuminant was C. Reduced myoglobin is the predominant muscle pigment in the absence of oxygen.VENTURINI. jul.H.1±0. Metmyoglobin is the form showing an undesirable brown colour that causes consumers to reject pre-packaged meats (SARANTÓPOULOS. The Effects Scavengers Stability of Under Pure of Oxygen on the Colour Fresh Beef Packaged Carbon Dioxide 1. However optimum conditions for metmyoglobin formation occur at low partial pressures of oxygen (GILL. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of a pure CO 2 atmosphere in association with oxygen scavengers on the colour of steaks from muscles with inherent low stability. (1995) reported the relationship between the types of O2 scavenger. photosensitive dyes. and 1atm./dez. which contains the anoxic atmosphere (GILL. The masterpacks were evacuated by a ‘double vacuum-flush’ cycle. C. 1996) and oversized packages are generally viewed unfavourably by consumers. bright red and brown colours were evaluated using a non-structured scale of 9cm where 0 cm = no colour and 9 cm = intense colour. the observer angle was 10o and the specular component was excluded. Under pure CO2 stored beef is maintained in the purple reduced form of myoglobin (ISDELL et al. the storage at 25ºC and 75% R. four trays were randomly removed from masterpacks. Two masterpacks for each type of scavenger tested and one having no O2 scavenger were opened on the 7th and 14th days of storage after the gas analysis. Immediately after the needle was removed.H. et al. oxymyoglobin and metmyoglobin. 1996). Inserting sachets of oxygen-scavenging chemicals during packing might prevent discolouration of beefsteaks in the masterpack. all packs were stored in a cold chamber in the dark for up to 14 days at 4 ± 1oC. Existing O 2 scavenging technologies are based on oxidation of one or more substances such as iron powder. a desirable bright red meat colour can bloom (SARANTÓPOULOS.5L of pure CO2/kg of meat. and all the retail trays were placed in an illuminated (incandescent light) display case in air at 5±1oC. Ltd. 1988). which prevents O 2 scavengers from functioning during handling in air. Both types were self-activated as soon as exposed to air. n. via a hypodermic needle inserted through a stick-on septum. a ratio of about 1:3 for the meat to gas volume is required to maintain an adequately preservative composition of the atmospheres (GILL. TEWARI et al. Unfortunately. Oxymyoglobin is the oxygenated form of the muscle pigment and is responsible for the bright red colour consumers expect in beef sold in grocery stores. Colour evaluation was also carried out with a portable spectrophotometer (Minolta Co. were placed in an expanded polystyrene tray (3RR. reaction speeds and their specific use. through the transparent shrink film. redness (a*) and yellowness (b*) values. 1999. 2004 156 .day) at 25oC. ascorbic acid. unsaturated fatty acids and others (SUPPAKUL et al. 1996). Each tray was overwrapped with clear polyolephinic shrink film presenting an O 2 transmission rate of about 12. As the product is exposed to air after the removal from the masterpack. The first type is moisture-dependent and requires humidity for activation. 5 = 25-35% discolouration. The average of eight readings was recorded for each steak.7. CVP Systems Ltd. The packaging atmosphere can affect the colour of meat. Eight retail packs were distributed in masterpacks (3. SMITH et. Retail problems due to oversized display packs can be avoided by sealing a number of display trays into a masterpack. For each treatment. INTRODUCTION The colour of fresh beef depends on the relative amounts of three forms of myoglobin: reduced myoglobin. and 1atm. a modified atmosphere must be used to extend the storage life of the product (YOUNG et al. The O2 and CO2 concentrations in the headspace were analysed by a gas analyzer (Dansensor). BREENE. the pH of the meat surface was measured Braz. Reflectance measurements were expressed as lightness (L*). 2003). Commercial O 2 scavengers based on iron powders (‘activated iron oxide’) are mixed with acids and/or salts and a humectant to promote oxidation of the iron (VERMEIREN et al..1kg) with an O2 transmission rate of 19 mL(STP)/(m2.2. The humectant may be dry or pre-wetted according to the type of chemical reaction. After gas analysis. reported that the prevention of metmyoglobin formation might be affected by the type and capacity of the O 2 scavenger employed. The steaks on display were assessed for colour and discolouration 1h after opening of the masterpacks. 1995.. two steaks (390±40g) sliced into approximately 10-15mm pieces. The film was perforated along the two largest sides of the tray to allow for free exchange of atmospheres during the gas flushing and reblooming. p. al. whereas the other one is self-activating as soon as it is exposed to air. (2001). Cryovac). 1991). v. 2. JONES. Two different types of commercial oxygen scavenger based on iron powders were used in this study (S1 and S2). After 3 days. Discolouration was scored on a six-point scale where 1 = no discolouration. pack atmosphere (air/N2/CO2) and initial O2 concentration.232mL(STP)/(m2. enzymes. 3 = 5-15% discolouration. and sealed using a gas-flushing machine (A300. For more extensive trading of retailed meat. 1999). the scavenger put into the masterpack was formulated to reduce 300mL of O2 (S1) and in the second treatment. Food Technol. the scavenging capacity of both types was overestimated by approximately 20%. 2 = 5% discolouration.

45 S2 SD 0. v.12 Mean 5..55 1.59 Control CO2 99.1% peptone saline water.05 0. 2004 157 .60 1./dez.6 O2 0.2 94.2.04 0. Storage Time (days) 7 14 Control Mean 5. Such an increase may be attributed to the entrapment of O2 in the absorbent pad. SPLITTOESSER.91 0.26 2.07 Mean 5. inside the expanded polystyrene tray. types.04 0.5 96.2 98.31 1.1mL) of appropriate dilutions were then spread on duplicate plates of Plate Count Agar (Merck). Two trays were removed randomly for each treatment immediately after opening the masterpacks and the steaks were similarly sampled. 2001).16 1. The results were analysed using the analysis of variance (ANOVA).30 2. J. whereas in masterpacks with S1 or S2 scavenger TABLE 1.33 2.16% to 1.82% on the 1st day of storage in the masterpack with no O2 scavenger.9 99.3 94.67 1.2 92.3 S1: masterpacks contained scavengers with rated capacity for 300mL of O2 S2: masterpacks contained scavengers with rated capacity for 420mL of O2 TABLE 2.9 99.01 S2 CO2 99.45 SD 0.82 1.42 S1 SD 0.59 5. The oxygen concentration decreased continuously until day 14 in masterpacks without oxygen scavengers (1.30 and 1. Variations in pH after each storage period were measured directly on the steaks (Table 2). The plates were incubated for 2 days at 35oC for the bacterial mesophiles count and for 3 days at 20oC for growth of aerobic and anaerobic psychrotrophic bacteria (VANDERZANT. Effect of storage time and packaging system on the mean pH values of beef (GM) steaks stored in masterpacks in a CO2 atmosphere for up to 14d at 4±1oC.12.. A.7 94.0 97. 3.9 99.. 1992). whereas masterpacks containing S2 scavengers reached 0.74 1. the corners of the tray.60 5.62 5.01%. underneath the steaks. p.9 99.5h 22h 1 day 2 days 5 days 7 days 14 days 0. As shown in Table 1.16 0.53 1.9 97.8 95. Food Technol.19 S1: masterpacks contained scavengers with rated capacity for 300mL of O2 S2: masterpacks contained scavengers with rated capacity for 420mL of O2 SD: standard deviation Braz.9 98.1 93.3 O2 0. during evacuation.03) and all steaks had a normal pH (<5. Aliquots (0.05%. the pH of the beefsteaks was 5. the presence of traces of O2 and other atmospheric gases in the evacuated pouch is a result of the almost impossibility of establishing an atmosphere that is completely free of air at the time of sealing a masterpack with available commercial equipment designed for oxygendepleted packaging. The increase in O2 concentration in the masterpacks after packaging is inevitable (TEWARI et al.67 1.69 ± 0. the steaks packaged with or without O2 scavengers showed small pH variations (<0.84 1. Modified atmosphere inside masterpacks during 14 days of storage at 4±1oC.48 1.9 99. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The O2 concentration increased from 0.3 96. On the first day. et al. Gas concentration (% v/v) Storage time O2 0h 2. or under the over-wrap film.VENTURINI.55. respectively (Table 1). Scheffe´s test was used to compare the means at a level of 0.59%) and with S1 scavengers (1. O2 increased to 2.9 99.80) independent of storage time and packaging system. jul.02 0. C.46 1.04 S1 CO2 99.04%). The Effects Scavengers Stability of Under Pure of Oxygen on the Colour Fresh Beef Packaged Carbon Dioxide directly by a combined glass electrode.49 1. n.9 99. After 14 days. Samples (25g) were removed with a sterile scalpel and ground with 225mL of 0. All muscle tissue surfaces from each Gluteus medius sample were randomly sampled for analysis of the initial flora immediately after withdrawing from its vacuum pack.16 1.7.5 92.155-159.

increased from the 7 th (a*=16.34.42±2. J. Aplications of “active packaging” for .05) Control: masterpacks with no O2 scavenger S1: masterpacks contained scavengers with rated capacity for 300mL of O2 S2: masterpacks contained scavengers with rated capacity for 420mL of O2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank the Meat Technology Centre – Institute of Food Technology. v.59b 9. REFERENCES GILL.15) to the 14th days (a*=21. The effects of residual oxygen concentration and temperature on the degradation of the colour of beef packaged under oxygen-depleted atmospheres.62a 21.98. et al.99-109. v. the S2 steak redness was significantly higher than in the Control and S 1 treatments.05 9. J.387-394. v. HOOD.7180.O.155-159.02±3. CO2 or O2 + CO2.. After 14 days. Scores of 1 (very poor) or 2 (poor) were recorded for overall steak quality for all steaks from the Control and S1 treatments. 1995.70. Immediately before packaging of the steaks into the masterpacks. Meat Science. McGINNIS. 1981).. After 7 days in MAP steak reblooming was not verified in any of the treatments 1h after opening the masterpacks. The steaks packaged with S 2 showed the least discolouration (0-5%) and the highest red intensity (8.34b 11. The overall steak quality for the product stored with the S2 scavengers was 4 (neither good nor poor) or 5 (good) after 7 days.84a 36. p..13. Mean values for lightness (L*). Storage time Treatment L Control S1 S2 a.05) of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria (<106 CFU/g). TABLE 3..C. BUTLER. 1999. ISDELL. ALLEN. Food Technol. 1995. 1996.VENTURINI.O. v. for meat plant and laboratory assays. 1996. p.. v.03±4. T.. C. 2001. Colour stability of six beef muscles stored in a modified atmosphere mother pack system with oxygen scavengers. O’KEEFFE. Since redness (a*) was considered as a good index of steak discolouration during storage.98 11.18b Means in the same column with no common superscript are significantly different (P < 0. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. W. the steaks rebloomed and the values for a* increased. redness (a*) and yellowness (b*) during storage at 4±1oC. 2004 158 .2.52 and b*=1. However.42.0) when compared to the other systems. C.23 7. These results are supported by the observations that the metmyoglobin formed on the surfaces of steaks can be reduced to deoxymyoglobin as result of metmyoglobin reducing activity (MRA) within the muscle tissue. p. F. The values for a* on the surface of steaks from the S2 treatment.39. Meat Science. C. when the O 2 residue is not excessive (TEWARI et al. GILL.. E. it was verified at all storage times and 1h after opening of the masterpacks.. p. jul.80 3. This work was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP Project . Journal of Food Processing & Preservation.02a 34.P BREENE. v./dez. The Effects Scavengers Stability of Under Pure of Oxygen on the Colour Fresh Beef Packaged Carbon Dioxide The initial microflora was composed of approximately 10 2 CFU/g of mesophiles and 10 4 CFU/g of aerobic and anaerobic psychrotrophic bacteria. p.O. p. C. At this point of storage.27a 5. DOHEERTY. LABUZA.M. MCGINNIS.b 7 days a* a 14 days b* a L a a* a b* a 36.85a 8.43.18) of storage (Table 3). Thus the capacity and the absorption rate of O 2 scavengers determine the shelf life of fresh beef steaks packaged in masterpack in an atmosphere of pure carbon dioxide with the inevitable residual O 2 in the headspace after packaging. when the O2 concentration in the higher capacity scavenger (S2) masterpacks was reduced to nearly zero.203-213. The substantial metmyoglobin formed in both the Control and S1 treatments was not sufficiently reduced to myoglobin to allow for the development of a desirable colour when exposed to air. the steaks stored using the S2 treatment were the most attractive. measured on the steak surfaces (GM) 1h after opening the masterpacks. 2001/08824-5) – Brazil. 1989.. GILL..02a 3. the average values of the coordinates of the CIE L*a*b* system were L*=35. Braz. after 7 days or longer. Meat Science.7. The display of retail packaged pork chops after their storage in masterpacks under atmospheres of N 2. GILL. n. a*=22. JONES.36a 38.15a 5. These steaks had considerable brown areas and failed to rebloom. after 14 days of storage.10 37. Extending the storage life of raw chilled meats. P. improvement of shelf-life and nutricional quality of fresh and extended shelf-life foods. all steaks with or without O 2 scavengers had comparable counts (p<0.M. and increased to 5 (good) or 6 (very good) for all steaks after 14 days.95a 35. A.00a 16. In summary. A.1-69. T.

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