Beef is rich in various nutrients while easily spoils due to contamination by pathogens, thus it is of great significance to develop a bactericidal method to inactivate meat-borne pathogens and meanwhile maintain the freshness of beef. For the first time, the present study investigated the bactericidal effect of blue light (BL) at 415 nm against four meat-borne pathogens (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , Escherichia coli , Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria monocytogenes ) in vitro and inoculated on the surface of fresh beef, respectively. When the non-illuminated beef was used as control, the population of the four pathogens did not change significantly ( P > 0.05), while BL-illuminated beef showed dose-dependent inactivation effect in both in vitro and in vivo studies. The experiments on beef cuts showed that 109.44 J/cm 2 of BL inactivated 90% of inoculated cells for the tested strains ( P < 0.05), and the impact of BL inactivation could be sustained in 7 days of cold storage. Notably, changes of lipid oxidation rate, water holding capacity and cooking loss value between the control and beef illuminated by 109.44 J/cm 2 at the same time were scarcely detected during the storage. BL had a minor but insignificant influence on surface color and free amino acid content. Moreover, the pH of illuminated beef increased slower ( P < 0.05) than that of non-illuminated beef. The present work demonstrated that BL could be a novel bactericidal and freshness-maintaining method for fresh beef.
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