Wednesday, October 11, 2006 by: Ben Kage
(NewsTarget) Researchers at the University of Extremadura in Spain
have found that the essential oils sage and rosemary could slow
oxidative spoilage of meat better than synthetic antioxidants
butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT).
"The results of my research support the idea that new food
ingredients from plant kingdom are of interest for the meat
industry," lead author Mario Estvez. "Using "functional ingredients"
such as those containing flavonoids are excellent options to enhance
the nutritional and technological properties of a wide range of
In the study, the researchers studied three pates, one with sage and
rosemary oils, one with BHA and BHT, and one with no antioxidants,
after they had been stored at 39 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 days.
After 30 days, the scientists analyzed the levels of polyunsaturated
fatty acids (PUFA), thibarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS),
and lipid-derived volatiles in the pates. The essential oil pate
also showed a significantly reduced loss of PUFA levels compared to
the synthetically preserved and control pates, and the essential
oils also performed better in the inhibition of oxidative
deterioration. No difference was observed after 90 days.
"Results from the present study agree with those obtained
(previously) , denoting even the possibility of replacing synthetic
antioxidants such as BHT with natural extracts with antioxidant
activity obtained from plants," wrote the authors in the January
issue of LWT - Food Science and Technology (Lebensmittel-
Wissenschaft und -Technologie) . "Furthermore, the addition of plant
essential oils greatly influences the aromatic profile of the
products in which they are added since some volatile components of
these essential oils are terpenes which might contribute to add
specific aromatic notes."
While the study results suggest that natural alternatives to
synthetic preservatives are viable, Estvez said some obstacles still
"Regardless of the costs, the main challenges of using these
substances on meat products are related to consumer's
acceptability, " he said. "It is essential to carry out experimental
works to prove the effectiveness of these substances is every single
product because their activity as antioxidants depends on a large
number of factors, including the characteristics of the food."
The study comes at a time when plant-based alternatives to chemical
preservatives are increasing in popularity, even to the point that
the synthetic antioxidant market is in decline while the natural
antioxidant market is growing, according to a 2003 report by Frost
Mike Adams, consumer health advocate and author of "Grocery
Warning," explained that turning to all-natural preservatives was
more than a just a good idea.
"Replacing the toxic chemical additives currently used to preserve
meat products with natural, plant-derived oils would help protect
the population from cancer," he said. "The chemical additives
currently being used to preserve common meat products are extremely
toxic and known to aggressively promote cancer."