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Aminopeptidase Activity by Spoilage Bacteria and Its Relationship to Microbial Load and Sensory Attributes of Poultry Legs during Aerobic Cold Storage

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The shelf life of poultry legs stored aerobically and the possible role of the aminopeptidase activity of gram-negative bacteria (p-nitroaniline test) as a predictor of poultry spoilage were evaluated on the basis of microbiological and sensory parameters. Chicken legs (n = 30) obtained immediately after evisceration in a local poultry processing plant were kept under aerobic refrigeration (4 ± 1°C) for 7 days. Microbiological (counts of aerobic bacteria and psychrotrophs) and sensory (odor, color, and general acceptability on a hedonic scale of 1 to 9) parameters and aminopeptidase activity (absorbance at 390 nm [A 390]) determinations were performed after 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7 days of storage. Aerobic plate counts of 7 log CFU/g and a score of 6 for general acceptability were used as indicators of the end point of shelf life. Strong correlations (r ≥ 0.76; P < 0.001) were obtained between bacterial counts, hedonic scores, and A 390 values. Samples were judged as unacceptable (shelf-life end point) after 2 and 4 days on the basis of sensory and microbiological analyses, respectively. A 390 values of 0.52 and 0.89 (corresponding to p-nitroaniline concentrations of 6.25 and 10.7 μg/ml, respectively) are proposed as the upper limits for acceptability on the basis of sensory and microbiological determinations, respectively. However, these recommendations are based on a small set of samples, and their general application is yet to be verified.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zootecnics, Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, La Paz, Mexico 2: Department of Food Hygiene and Food Technology, University of León, León, Spain

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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