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Antimicrobial agents, dough conditioners extend shelf life, quality of flat bread.

More than 1.8 billion people consume flat bread on a daily basis. Arabic flat bread (AFB), unlike other breads, has a limited shelf life. You may be aware that the two major considerations of shelf life are spoilage and staling. So scientists at Kansas State University performed three related studies to determine if the shelf life and quality of AFB could be extended by adding selected preservatives or improvers.

The investigators evaluated the bread using texture analysis (TA), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and sensory techniques. Their first study examined the addition of preservatives to extend the product's shelf life. A control and three preservatives treatments--fumaric acid (0.2%), sodium propionate (0.3%) and a sodium propionate-fumaric acid mixture (PF)--were used either singly or in various combinations.

The second study evaluated the addition of dough conditioners to maintain quality during storage. The conditioners examined included sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (0.25%), monoglyceride (0.25%), hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose gum (0.75%, HPMC), high-fructose corn syrup (4.2%, HFCS) and various combinations of improvers. A third study incorporated a trained sensory panel to evaluate product attributes.

The results from the first study showed that PF extended the bread's shelf life an additional 13 days compared to the control. The second study showed that, after three days, the HFCS and an improver combination significantly improved TA and NIRS profiles compared to the control. Scientists confirmed this with the third study, in which a trained sensory panel preferred the HFCS and an improver combination over the control after product had been stored for a while.

The investigators tell us that by using appropriate preservatives and improvers, the shelf life and quality of AFB may be extended. This is critical in countries in which storage and distribution chains are limited. Further information. Thomas Herald, Food Science Institute, Kansas State University, Room 220, Call Hall, Manhattan, KS 66502; phone: 785-532-1221; email:
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Publication:Microbial Update International
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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