(NaturalNews) Olive extracts derived from the wastewater of olive oil processing are rich in antioxidants that can function effectively as natural meat preservatives, according to a study conducted by researchers from Food Science Australia and Argentina's National Council for Scientific and Technical Investigation and published in the journal Food Chemistry.
"The polyphenol extract from the waste water of olive oil's pomace significantly inhibited lipid oxidation in pre-cooked ground beef and pork," the researchers wrote.
Olive oil pomace refers to the traces of oil left over after food-grade olive oil has been extracted from the flesh and pips of the fruit. This leftover oil can only be extracted by the addition of the toxic chemical hexane, and is banned for human consumption in Germany and Canada due to its classification as a carcinogen. Olive oil pomace may still be used to make soaps and for industrial purposes, however.
In the current study, researchers used the wastewater from olive oil pomace to isolate olive extract that was high in antioxidant polyphenols. This extract was then added to pre-cooked beef and pork at either 50 or 100 milligram gallic acid equivalents per kilogram of meat. The researchers then measured the degree of lipid (fat) oxidation in the meat using the thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) test.
Lipid oxidation can cause the taste, texture and color of meat to degrade.
Researchers found that TBARS formation was reduced between 47 and 66 percent in pork treated with olive extract, and 63 to 83 percent in the beef. This was a greater reduction than that seen from a natural antioxidant derived from grape skin, but proved less effective than an antioxidant derived from green tea.
The market for synthetic antioxidants such as like butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) has been steadily decreasing as consumers become more and more wary of artificial food additives. Concurrently, the market for natural food preservatives continues to grow.