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Antioxidant, antimicrobial activity of pomegranate peel extract improves shelf life of chicken.

Pomegranate peel offers about twice the amount of antioxidants found in the pulp of the fruit, and for that reason could have significant potential as a health supplement. The fruit has often been associated with improved heart health, but other claims have been made, including its ability to protect against prostate cancer and to slow cartilage loss in arthritis.

In the past, most research has focused on the pulp and juice of the fruit. But now scientists from the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Tianjin, China, indicate that the peel offers more phenolics, flavonoids and proanythocyanidins than the pulp. They found that adding the peel extract to popular chicken products can enhance the shelf life of these products by up to three weeks when they are placed in chilled storage. The peel extract also can effectively control oxidative rancidity in these products.

The researchers examined a number of ways to extract antioxidants from the peel, using a variety of solvents. These include using only methanol; only ethanol; only acetone; and a mixture of methanol, ethanol, acetone and water. It appears that a mixture of different solvents is more powerful in recovering the antioxidants than are the individual solvents.

Pomegranate peel extract showed excellent antioxidant activity, while the seed extract did not have any significant antioxidant activity. The half maximal inhibitory concentration ([IC.sub.50]) of the peel extract indicated that it was a stronger antioxidant. The [IC.sub.50] is a indicator of how effective a compound is in inhibiting biological or biochemical function. This quantitative value indicates how much of a substance is needed to inhibit a certain biological process by half.

The antioxidant efficacy of the peel extract in scavenging hydroxyl and superoxide anion radicals was also very high. The extract had good reducing power and iron chelation capacity. The peel extract had good antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus, with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 0.01%. Pseudomonas could be inhibited at a higher concentration of 0.1%. The peel extract was ineffective against Escherichia coli and S. typhimurium.

Further information. Sweetie R. Kanatt, Food Technology Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Trombay, Mumbai 400 085, India; phone: 22 25505050; fax: 22 25505151; email:
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Author:Kanatt, Sweetie R.
Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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