Scientists from India have been assessing the potential use of MF extract as a functional ingredient in meats to enhance the nutritional quality, and storage stability, in an attempt to increase fibre levels in everyday food items.
They published the findings in the journal Nutrients.
Making of nuggets
The researchers used fresh mature moringa flowers (M. oleifera), which were grounded into powder and extracted using aqueous ethanol. The extract was then centrifuged, and filtered and stored at 2°C.
For the nuggets, they used frozen chicken breast meat, which were minced, seasoned and divided into three batches accordingly.
Control did not contain any MF extract or other antioxidant dietary fibre (ADF). Treatment 1 (T1) and treatment 2 (T2) contained 1% and 2% MF respectively.
Functional benefits: Dietary fibre and antioxidant
The researchers found the addition of MF significantly increased total dietary fibre (TDF) content in the nuggets (p<0.001).
TDF content was the highest in T2 nuggets (2.03%) followed by T1 (1.39%), while the lowest values were found for control (0.76%).
The researchers also said MF extract significantly increase total phenolic content (TPC) in chicken nuggets (p<0.001).
TPC content (mg GAE/g) was significantly higher in T1 and T2 (0.789, 1.121 respectively) than control (0.059).
They added: “Such a high dietary fibre and TPC level in treated chicken nuggets might be due to use of MF extract, which had very high phenolic content (36.14 mg/g dry powder) and [is a] good source of dietary fibre (36.14%).”
In addition, the incorporation of MF extract did not influence (p > 0.05) texture (hardness, cohesiveness, gumminess and chewiness) of the product.
It also did not have any significant impact on the taste of treated chicken nuggets, and may actually have beneficial properties for shelf-life extension.
The researchers suggested its antioxidant dietary fibre levels might have acted as stabilising agent for retaining the flavour by inhibiting lipid oxidation.
In assessing 20-day storage in refrigerated aerobic conditions, the researchers found total microbial plate count of T1 (4.66 log10 cfu/g) and T2 (4.51 log10 cfu/g) were significantly lower (p<0.001) compared to control group (6.46 log10 cfu/g).
“This result might be due to its richness in polyphenolic compounds exerting antimicrobial effects,” they said.
It is well documented by many researchers that meat products incorporated with natural antioxidants have higher flavour and overall acceptability scores during storage owing to the colour and flavour stabilising effect of them by inhibiting lipid and protein oxidation.
However, the researchers cautioned that the composition of MF is different across locations, due to the “soil type, cultivars, stage of maturity of flowers and influence of the climatic or weather conditions in the region.”
However, their results indicated that MF is a source of dietary fibre and antioxidant, and can increase the shelf-life of chicken nuggets during 20 days of refrigeration storage.
They said MF extract could be used as a safe, natural and valuable antioxidant to the meat industry, apart from offering its functional health promoting benefits.
Drumstick (Moringa oleifera) Flower as an Antioxidant Dietary Fibre in Chicken Meat Nuggets
Authors: Pratap Madane, et al.