Quality and microbial population of Cornish game hen carcasses as affected by electron beam irradiation Academic Article uri icon


  • We evaluated the chemical and microbiological quality of Cornish game hen carcasses irradiated up to 7 kGy with a 10 MeV linear accelerator (dual beam configuration). Eighty frozen and vacuum packaged (approximately 0.45 kg) Cornish game hens (Callus domesticus) were irradiated and stored in low-density polyethylene bags at 4 1 C for 21 d; nonirradiated chickens served as controls. Fat oxidation (in terms of malonaldehyde content) increased with storage time and dose for all chicken parts analyzed (breast, thigh, and skin). As expected, the skin had the highest level of fat oxidation while the breast samples had the lowest. Oxidation level in all samples exposed to 2 kGy reached a maximum on day 14. Sensory evaluation showed that irradiation caused significant textural toughening, and increased the redness of raw chicken meat. In terms of overall quality and aroma, lipid oxidation was not a major problem since it was not detected by the panelists. Irradiation significantly reduced the total viable microbial counts (TVC) in the breast and thigh samples. Exposure to 3-kGy dose decreased the TVC by 0.3-log cycles on the surface of the skin. In less than 14 d, the nonirradiated chicken carcasses had counts greater than 6 log CFU/50 cm2, while the 2 and 3 kGy irradiated samples reached these numbers only after 21 d of storage. Samples irradiated at 7 kGy had consistently the lowest counts (2.5 log CFU/50 cm2) throughout storage time. This study shows that irradiation up to 7 kGy and refrigerated storage (4 C) inhibits microbial growth and extends shelf life of Cornish game hens without affecting consumers' acceptability. 2006 Institute of Food Technologists.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gomes, C., Da Silva, P. F., Castell-Perez, M. E., & Moreira, R. G.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Gomes, C||Da Silva, PF||Castell-Perez, ME||Moreira, RG

publication date

  • September 2006