Effect of Chitosan Essential Oil Films on the Storage-Keeping Quality of Pork Meat Products
Edible films based on chitosan were prepared, with and without basil or thyme essential oils, with the aim of assessing their protective ability against lipid oxidation and their antimicrobial activity. Chitosan films had good oxygen-barrier properties, which were worsened by essential oil addition, especially when the film equilibrium moisture content increased. Due to the oxygen-barrier effect, all the films effectively protected pork fat from oxidation, in comparison to unprotected samples. In spite of the worsening of the oxygen-barrier properties, the films with essential oils were more effective than those of pure chitosan, which points to the chemical action of specific antioxidant compounds of the oils. Films were effective to control microbial growth in minced pork meat, although the incorporation of essential oils did not improve their antimicrobial activity. Throughout the storage, the films led to colour changes in minced pork meat associated with the conversion of myoglobin into metmyoglobin due to the reduction of the oxygen availability.