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Green tea marinades may improve health profile of beef

By Stephen Daniells , 05-Mar-2010

Marinating beef in green tea-containing product may reduce the levels of potentially cancer-promoting compounds, according to a study from Portugal.

According to researchers from the University of Porto, the green tea-based marinade reduced levels of heterocyclic amines by up to 75 per cent. Heterocyclic amines, formed during the frying or grilling of fish and meat, are reported to promote carcinogenesis in humans.

In a recent report from Mintel stated that the US marinade market presented opportunities for manufacturers: "Given the renewed focus on healthful eating among consumers, easy and healthy marinades for vegetables could be very well received in the marketplace. Further, given consumers interesting in new flavours and ethnic foods, the category could achieve a great deal through flavour innovations," stated the report.

Writing in Food Chemistry, the researchers stated: “Since the catechins are natural products present in green tea consumed world-wide without any human disease risk, this procedure might well be introduced in the future in the cooking of meat practices, especially, for children and consumers that do not use alcoholic marinades owing to medical requirements, food allergies or religious practices.”

Study details

The researchers, led by Isabel Ferriera, took ten beef samples and marinated them in a green tea solution for 0, 1, 2, 4 or 6 hours at 5 °C, followed by frying.

The data showed that all the meat samples marinated in red wine or beer contained lower levels of heterocyclic amines than the control samples. Indeed, carcinogenic compounds such as 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine were reduced by up to 75 per cent, after marinating for six hours.

Taste tests

Ferriera and her co-workers recruited 27 people for a taste panel, and fed them pan-fried steak (control) or green tea-marinated steaks. The marinade duration was limited to two hours as a longer marinade was reported to produce detrimental effects on odour, colour, and overall quality.

No significant difference was found in the odour, colour, and overall quality of steaks marinated in tea and the control, non-marinated steaks.

For slightly different tastes

The research follows a similar study by the same researchers that reported a beer marinade reduced levels of heterocyclic amines by up to 88 per cent (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 56, pp 10625-10632).

Source: Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.02.022
“Effect of green tea marinades on the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines and sensory quality of pan-fried beef”
Authors: I. Quelhas, C. Petisca, O. Viegas, A. Melo, O. Pinho, I.M.P.L.V.O. Ferreira

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