The aim of this study was to improve shelf life of ground chicken meat in chilled storage by employing active packaging incorporating seed cover extract (SCE) of Zanthoxylum rhetsa. The total phenolic and flavonoid content in SCE was estimated to be 194 and 44.5 mg/g, respectively, in terms of catechin equivalents. SCE scavenged free radicals, exhibited good reducing power, and high antioxidant activity coefficient. SCE was effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas fluorescens. The major phenolics compounds identified in SCE were catechin, vanillin, gallic acid, and ferulic acid. SCE was incorporated to get active films of Gum Arabic, polyvinyl alcohol, and sorbitol. Films had good mechanical and barrier properties. Ground chicken meat packed in normal films spoiled in less than 6 days whereas active packaging led to reduction in lipid peroxidation and improvement in shelf life up to 12 days at chilled condition.
Globally, tonnes of food get wasted annually at retail and consumer level due to lack of proper packaging and storage facilities. Meat is a highly perishable commodity and various strategies are used to preserve it for long time. Packaging and freezing are two important techniques used for this purpose. Freezing is energy intensive and conventional packaging using petroleum‐based polymers leads to burden on environment. Active packaging with the use of biodegradable polymers and natural preservatives is an emerging area of research in food industry. Zanthoxylum rhetsa is low cost spice and is rich in bioactive compounds. This can be used as the active component in biodegradable films that can extend the shelf life of the meat packed in it at chilled temperatures. Thus the burden on energy as well as petroleum resources can be minimized.