Instead of throwing away organic pecan shells, the waste can be turned into an antimicrobial extract that destroys bacteria on chicken and other organic meats so antibiotics don't have to be used, since you can't use them anyway on certified organic meats and poultry. How the scientists did it began with unroasted and roasted organic pecan shells that were subjected to solvent free extraction to produce antimicrobials that were tested against the bacteria known as Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes serotypes. You also can see the new study's abstract online, "Efficacy of Antimicrobials Extracted from Organic Pecan Shell for Inhibiting the Growth of Listeria spp." in the November 26, 2013 issue of the Journal of Food Science.
The researchers wanted to find out whether the extract would get rid of the microbes, that is the researchers needed to determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of antimicrobials. When the process worked to satisfaction, then the effectiveness of pecan shell extracts were further tested using a poultry skin model system and the growth inhibition of the Listeria cells adhered onto the skin model were quantified. You also may wish to check out the December 12, 2013 IFT.org news release, "Pecan Shell Extracts May Provide Antimicrobial Option for Preventing Listeria in Organic Meats."
The majority of consumers that eat or buy organic products do not want synthetic antimicrobials or antioxidants added to their foods and prefer a “clean label”. A study in the Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) showed that extracts from pecan shells may be effective at protecting meats, such as chicken from listeria growth, explains the IFT's news release.
Unroasted and roasted organic pecan shells were subjected to organic extraction processes to produce antimicrobials that were tested against Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes bacteria. The effectiveness of pecan shell extracts were further tested using poultry skin to see how much these extracts inhibited bacterial growth of Listeria.
When this all-natural antimicrobial was tested on raw chicken skin it decreased the levels of pathogens by 100 times and at the same time reduced the levels of spoilage organisms by more than 1,000 times, thus greatly increasing the shelf life of the chicken, says the IFT's news release. The researchers concluded that the natural pecan shell extracts may prove to be an effective alternative antimicrobial against food pathogens and supplement the demand for organic antimicrobials.
The solvent free extracts of pecan shells inhibited Listeria strains at MICs as low as 0.38%
The antimicrobial effectiveness tests on a poultry skin model exhibited nearly a 2 log reduction of the inoculated cocktail mix of Listeria strains when extracts of pecan shell powder were used. The extracts also produced greater than a 4 log reduction of the indigenous spoilage bacteria on the chicken skin, noted the study's abstract. So, the pecan shell extracts may prove after all to be very effective alternative antimicrobials against food pathogens and supplement the demand for effective natural antimicrobials for use in organic meat processing. The application is organic and practical.
Pecan shells are a by-product of the shelled pecan industry
By using a novel solvent free extraction system, we have produced antimicrobial compounds from these pecan shells. Antimicrobials from organic pecan shells may be suitable for use in organic meat processing, the study's abstract explains. USDA certified organic meat such as chicken has to qualify before it's certified as organic. That means no antibiotics are to be used.
In order to be certified USDA organic meat, producers are restricted from using antibiotics. In Europe, all antibiotic use in animals is banned. The continued phase-out of antibiotics in all meat production should continue, especially in the US, where antibiotic use is extremely high. In the face of antibiotics, bacteria continue to "outwit" and "out survive" the prescriptions as newer and more dangerous strains form.
Antibiotic resistance is growing, and many antibiotics are now pervasively ineffective for millions of people, the study's abstract notes. For further information check out another article on the topic, the December 26, 2013 Natural News article, "Antibiotic era ending - Antimicrobial pecan shell extract can prevent Listeria contamination in organic meats." You may wish to see the YouTube video, on pecan shell waste/pecan shell flour. Pecan shells also are turned into flour. In fact most organic food waste gets turned into or recycled to become other products from fuel and flour to fertilizer and fabrics or antimicrobial extracts, and even paper. And some chickens are fed oregano as an antimicrobial tonic.
With some foods, nothing goes to waste. You can make something out of discarded shells, whether it's flour, antimicrobial extracts, or other uses from fuel to feed to fertilizer. Pecan shells now may be used instead of antibiotics to get rid of bacteria on meats or other foods. The goal, get rid of the bad bacteria while keeping the food organic and healthy so that the humans eating the food are not becoming resistant to antibiotics when they need them.