Marinades may prolong fresh meat shelf life

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soy sauce Meat

Soy sauce and red wine marinades may reduce microbial spoilage and oxidation of meat, according to new a new study.

The research, published in Food Microbiology,​ suggests marinating fresh meat in soy sauce or red wine based marinades can reduce microbe levels, and halt the development of rancid odours and flavours.

“The data presented in this study showed that the tested marinades were effective against the proliferation of meat spoilage microorganisms and also resulted in reduced lipid oxidation,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Dr. K. Koutsoumanis from the​Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,Greece.


Microbial growth and metabolic activities are an important cause of spoilage in fresh meat. Such spoilage may occur as visible growth, textural changes or through the development of off-odours and off-flavours.

The rapid rate of microbial growth on fresh meats means it has a limited shelf life that can often be further reduced by inappropriate temperature conditions during distribution and storage.

Spoilage of meats leads to significant economic losses for the meat industry – around $1 billion is lost each year as a result of beef spoilage in the United States alone, according to the US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

To be able to reduce such an economic losses the meat industry must develop “effective, natural, preservation methods that provide meat products with extensive shelf life but at the same time meeting consumers’ demands for high quality, convenience and improved flavour,”​ stated the authors

Marination is the process of soaking or injecting meat with a solution in order to flavour and tenderize products. In addition, shelf life of fresh meat has been suggested increase using marination processes, because the acidic or alkaline nature of the solution and the antimicrobial or antioxidant activities of some marinade additives can act to preserve meat or reduce bacterial growth.

The new study investigated the effect of soy sauce and red wine based marinades on spoilage microflora during the storage of raw beef. Beef was marinated in soy sauce base – both with and without added lactic acid – and a red wine base – with and without 0.5 per cent oregano essential oil.


Meat marinated in sterile saline solution for 24 hours increased the total viable count of microflora, reported the researchers. In contrast, they noted that marination with wine and soy sauce decreased total viable counts.

The researchers observed the addition of antimicrobials in the marinades resulted in significantly lower total viable counts compared to the marinades without antimicrobials.

Marination also significant reduced the development of rancidity, with all marinades resulting in significantly lower values at the end of storage. However no differences were found between the base marinades and the marinades with antimicrobials.

Life extension

“Considering that the growth of spoilage bacteria and oxidation are the two main ‘modes of failure’ for meat quality, the results of the present study indicate that marination with soy sauce-based and red wine-based marinades can be used as an effective , natural preservation method for the development of new meat products with extended shelf life,” ​concluded the researchers.

The authors noted that further, detailed research is needed to investigate the effects of marinades on meat safety, “including the kinetic behaviour of meat pathogens during storage, their stress response and more importantly, the potential cross protection phenomena induced by marination which may increase the resistance of pathogens to heat during cooking or to the acidic stomach environment.”

Source: Food Microbiology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/
“Efficacies of soy sauce and wine base marinades for controlling spoilage of raw beef”
Authors: C. Kargiotou, E. Katsanidis, J. Rhoades, M. Kontominas, K. Koutsoumanis

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