Mushroom extract may stabilise meat colour: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Antioxidant

An extract from the edible mushroom Flammulina velutipes may stabilise the natural colour of meat, according to new research from Japan published today.

Tuna and beef meat formulations avoided browning when the mushroom extract was used as an additive, report researchers from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​.

The benefits of the mushroom extract were linked to the antioxidant activity of the fungi, report the authors, led by Huynh Bao.

Oxidation processes in food can lead to organoleptic deterioration in taste, colour and texture. And fish products are particularly susceptible to oxidation processes because of the high unsaturated lipid content.

The food industry has long been aware of this, and is increasingly seeking natural solutions rather than artificial additives, such as like butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT), to extend the shelf life of milder-tasting products.

According to a 2003 report by Frost and Sullivan, the synthetic antioxidant market is in decline, while natural antioxidants, such as herb extracts, tocopherols (vitamin E) and ascorbates (vitamin C) are growing, pushed by consumer desire acceptance and easier market access.

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The researchers prepared extracts of Flammulina velutipes​ which contained the compound ergothioneine (ERT) at a level of 3.03 mg/mL. In antioxidant tests, the extract showed high activity, according to the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity assay.

Moreover, a suppression of lipid oxidation was observed, they said, particularly when added to the tuna samples.

“Lipid oxidation in beef and fish meats to which the mushroom extract had been added was “virtually” controlled during storage on ice,” wrote the researchers.

Furthermore, the natural colours of the meat were maintained after 12 and seven days of storage, respectively, when the extract was added.

On the other hand, in meat samples without the mushroom additive a browning of the meat was observed after six and two days of storage for the beef and tuna, respectively.

“These results suggest that ERT in the hydrophilic extract of ​F. velutipes plays an important role as a colour stabilizer of meats,”​ concluded the researchers.

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​Published online ahead of print, ASAP Article, doi: 10.1021/jf8017063“Antioxidative Activity and Antidiscoloration Efficacy of Ergothioneine in Mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) Extract Added to Beef and Fish Meats”​Authors: H.N.D. Bao, H. Ushio, T. Ohshima

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