Effects of natural antioxidants and thermal treatment on quality of meat from Bonsmara and non-descripts cattle

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Fort Hare


The broad objective of this study was to determine the effects of natural antioxidants and thermal treatment on quality of meat from Bonsmara and non-descript cattle. A survey was conducted among 222 consumers in Alice (Fort Hare University community), Eastern Cape Province to determine the level of their awareness on application of antioxidants as preservatives in meat and meat products during storage. Representative samples of Muscularis longissimuss thoracis et lumborum and liver were collected from each carcass of Bonsmara (n=40) and non-descript (n=40) cattle reared on natural pasture to determine the effect of natural antioxidants and thermal treatment on their quality. The results from the survey revealed that 51.35% of the respondents had not heard about the use of antioxidant as preservatives in meat products. However, among the remaining respondents (48.65%) that were aware of antioxidant and its use as preservative, about 19% knew of natural antioxidants, 35% synthetic antioxidants while 46% had knowledge of both. The results further revealed that the majority of the respondents (82%) that had knowledge of natural antioxidants were concerned about the use of synthetic antioxidants in meat and meat products due to their health consequences. The in vitro antioxidant and antibacterial analyses of Bidens pilosa and Moringa oleifera leaf extracts revealed that they contain rich bioactive compounds. Furthermore, the addition of leaf extracts from Moringa oleifera (ML, 0.05 and 0.1% w/w) and Biden pilosa (BP, 0.05 and 0.1% w/w) to ground raw beef as a natural antioxidant were found to improve the physicochemical, oxidative stability and microbiological qualities of meat compared to the control (meat without extract) and BHT treatment (0.02% w/w) during 6 days storage at 40 C. Cattle breed did not have much effect on colour parameters. However, the overall pH of ground beef treated with extracts showed lower values than control and BHT treated beef. Also, ground beef samples containing extracts exhibited (P < 0.05) better colour stability, especially higher redness (a* values), than the control. The formation of TBARS in beef samples treated with extracts was significantly (P < 0.05) lower than the control and BHT treatment. The antibacterial assay of the extracts revealed an appreciable broad spectrum activity against the tested bacteria and microbial counts in ground beef samples compared to control and BHT group. Ground beef treated with plant extracts exhibited lower microbial and lactic acid bacterial counts (P < 0.05) at day 0 and 3 than control samples. Moreover, it was observed that application of sous vides thermal method did not significantly affect the fatty acids and mineral loss in beef and liver across the treatments. However, the total concentration of MUFA was lower in raw liver (20.11±2.38 - 21.08±1.23%) than in beef (40.22±1.90 - 42.53±1.29%), while total PUFA content were higher in liver (30.73±2.60 - 31.11±1.19 %) than in beef samples (10.13±3.36 - 11.02±2.74%) (p < 0.05). The results also revealed that liver samples from Bonsmara and non-descript cattle had a higher percentage of intramuscular fat content of 4.67 ± 0.53% and 4.44 ± 0.53% respectively, and fat free dry matter of 27.51 ± 1.05% and 25.73 ± 1.05%, respectively, than the beef samples (p < 0.05). The concentrations of Mg (52.80±0.22 - 53.70±0.02mg/100g) and Zn (8.90±0.15 - 19.60±0.15mg/100g) were higher in beef than liver samples. The level of Ca (17.00±0.17 - 17.50 ± 0.17mg/100g) in liver was higher than that of beef samples. It was concluded that most consumers preferred the use of natural antioxidants in meat products than synthetic antioxidants due to their health risk. The effectiveness of M. oleifera and B. pilosa leaf extracts on meat quality also revealed that these plants are promising candidates as natural preservatives and their application should be considered in the meat industry. Lastly, findings from this study showed that application of the sous vide technique could protect meat products from nutritional loss during thermal treatment.



Ground beef, liver, microbial counts, natural antioxidants, nutritional quality, oxidative stability, sous vide thermal treatment