First evaluation of alkylpyrazine application as a novel method to decrease microbial contaminations in processed meat products

Matthias Schöck, Stefan Liebminger, Gabriele Berg, Tomislav Cernava*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Every year about 20% of the globally produced meat gets lost due to microbial spoilage. Nevertheless, the demand for processed meat is constantly rising and producers are searching for novel strategies to reduce microbial contaminations in their products. In the present study, we evaluated the applicability of alkylpyrazines as antimicrobial agents. These fragrant molecules naturally occur in different vegetables, fruits, roasted nut and meat. Several pyrazine derivatives are readily added to processed products for flavoring purposes in the food industry. To evaluate their potential for application, two derivatives were tested for their antimicrobial activity against meat-associated bacterial contaminants and chicken meat as a whole. Isolates assigned to Carnobacteriaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Listeriaceae, and Moraxellaceae were substantially inhibited in the pilot tests. Moreover, treatments of pyrazine-susceptible isolates resulted in 4-log reductions in bacterial cell counts. The effect was more pronounced when the model contaminants were exposed to higher concentrations of 5-isobutyl-2,3-dimethylpyrazine. In a first small-scale application with processed chicken meat, it was demonstrated that the antimicrobial effects of 2-isobutyl-3-methylpyrazine can be improved by additionally lowering the water activity on the meat surface when maltodextrin is used as a carrier substance. At low pyrazine dosages, the number of viable bacteria was decreased up to 95% in comparison to the corresponding controls. A complementary imaging method that was developed to assess the efficacy on the product, reinforced the applicability of this two-component system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number54
Number of pages7
JournalAMB Express
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


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