In the present study, natural antimicrobials chitosan and thyme, and their combination, were evaluated for their effect on the shelf life of a ready-to-cook (RTC) chicken-pepper kebab (skewer) stored under modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) conditions at 4 ± 0.5°C for 14 days. The following treatments were examined: control samples stored under aerobic packaging (A), samples stored under MAP (M), samples treated with 1.5% chitosan (vol/wt) and stored under MAP (M-CH), samples treated with 0.2% thyme essential oil (vol/wt) (M-T), and samples treated with 1.5% chitosan (vol/wt) and 0.2% thyme essential oil (vol/wt) and stored under MAP (M-CH-T). Treatment M-CH-T significantly affected aerobic plate counts and counts of lactic acid bacteria, Pseudomonas spp., Brochothrix thermosphacta, Enterobacteriaceae, and yeasts and molds during the entire storage period. Similarly, lipid oxidation of the RTC product was retarded (M-CH-T treatment) during storage, whereas redness was maintained in M-T, M-CH, and M-CH-T samples. Based primarily on sensory data (taste attribute), M-CH and M-T treatments extended RTC product shelf life by 6 days, whereas M-CH-T treatment resulted in a product with a shelf life of 14 days that maintained acceptable sensory characteristics (shelf life of the control was 6 days).

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