Spoilage biomarkers of fresh chicken breast

3 Mar 2015 NUS food scientists identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be used as spoilage biomarkers of raw chicken breast.

The shelf life of perishable food products available on the retail market, like fresh meat or fish, due to health and safety concerns. This leads to the generation of food wastes, which is a global economic problem nowadays.

A team led by Prof YUK Hyun-Gyun from Food Science and Technology Programme in NUS work on an alternative, non-invasive method to estimate food product’s shelf life based on the detection of characteristic volatile biomarkers in the headspace over spoiled product. The team found that ethanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol and acetic acid can be used as spoilage indicators for the quality assessment of raw chicken breast stored aerobically subjected to temperature abuse conditions. The method for rapid determination of volatile biomarkers using solid phage microextraction (SPME) coupled with gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was developed and optimized (see Figure).

Moving forward, these results can be implemented in the design of the sensor for real-time monitoring of spoilage development during storage in household conditions. The project has been conducted in the collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.


Principal component analysis (PCA) figures show: (A) loading plots and (B) mean factor scores of selected VOCs extracted using PDMS fiber from the headspace of raw () and naturally spoiled chicken breast samples (n=10) after the 1st (), 2nd () and 3rd (■) days of incubation at 21°C. Sulfides: methanethiol (MeSH), dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS), alcohols: ethanol (EtOH), 2-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol and free fatty acids (FFAs):acetic acid (C2), propanoic acid (C3) [Image credit: Yuk Hyun-Gyun]


Mikš-Krajnik, M, Yoon, YJ, Yuk, HG. “Detection of volatile organic compounds as markers of chicken breast spoilage using HS-SPME-GC/MS-FASST.” Food Science and Biotechnology. 24(1) (2015) 361.