Many environmental factors cause or accelerate the spoilage of food, but among them, microbial growth remains the primary focus of many studies. Microorganisms like bacteria can cause sickness and food poisoning when ingested, and while artificial preservatives can delay their growth, these chemicals can also cause harm to human health. In a recent study published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness, researchers from Henan University of Science and Technology in China reported that two common spices can be used to preserve raw chicken meat. They found that extracts from cloves and rosemary not only prevent microbial growth, they also possess high antioxidant activity, making them wonderful natural food preservatives.
In their study, the researchers decided to investigate and compare the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of cloves and rosemary, both alone and combined. They tested extracts obtained from both spices on raw chicken meat under storage conditions (4 C) for 15 days. In terms of antioxidant activity, clove extracts showed a higher radical scavenging activity than rosemary extracts. They also had a higher flavonoid and phenolic content than rosemary. However, rosemary extracts were more effective at chelating metal ions than cloves.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that cloves and rosemary extracts are highly effective against microbial growth and lipid oxidation — the primary cause of rancidity in food. As such, these spices can be used as natural preservatives for raw chicken meat.