The purpose of this study was to explore the potential of Aloe vera as a novel source of natural antioxidant and preservative in the muscle foods and to evaluate the effect of Aloe vera on the storage quality of aerobically packaged chicken nuggets.
The Aloe vera pulp was incorporated at various levels, namely, 0, 5, 10 and 15 per cent, replacing lean meat in the formulation. The products were analyzed for proximate composition, physicochemical and sensory parameters. Chicken nuggets incorporated with optimum level of Aloe vera (10 per cent) along with control nuggets (0 per cent Aloe vera) were aerobically packaged and assessed for lipid oxidation, physicochemical and microbiological characteristics under refrigerated (4°C) conditions.
pH, crude protein, ether extract and ash content of the nuggets showed significant (p < 0.05) decreasing trend with increasing levels of Aloe vera; however, there was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in the moisture content, emulsion stability and cooking yield. Aloe vera-enriched nuggets showed significantly (p < 0.05) lower values than control nuggets for almost all the lipid oxidation and microbiological parameters, i.e. free fatty acid, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances value, total plate count, psychrophillic count and yeast and mould count. No significant (p > 0.05) difference was observed in the sensory parameters of the Aloe vera-enriched nuggets and the control samples throughout the period of storage.
The paper has demonstrated the use of Aloe vera as a potential natural antioxidant without any marginal decline in the sensorial characteristics and nutritive value of the muscle foods.
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