Fresh Meats with a Three-Year Shelf Life

Give me a nice 2008 rib-eye

Paul Adams

Rib Steak Michael C. Berch

Those of us who want to keep meat from spoiling for more than a few weeks have had limited options till now. We can cure it into bacon or sausage; freeze it or dry it; or buy it supermarket-"fresh" in a shrink-wrapped envelope. Now Daniel J. O’Sullivan, a professor at the U. of Minnesota, has a new solution that might keep a piece of meat fresh for years on the shelf.

Meat spoils in part because of the action of bacteria like E. coli and Lactobacillus. There has been some success in treating meat with an antibacterial compound known as nisin, which works against Gram-positive bacteria such as Lactobacillus, but not the Gram-negatives E. coli and Salmonella. Enter bisin. Bisin is a compound isolated from Bifidobacterium longum, a bacterium that occurs naturally in the human gut; its bactericidal properties extend to both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, and can be applied to meat and dairy products to keep them free from spoilage.

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