The discovery could be a major boost for the poultry manufacturers looking for new ways to preserve and protect their products with natural ingredients.
Researchers at the University of Kafkas in Turkey found that the average shelf life of chicken wings increased by seven days and the sumac extract reduced psycotrophic, coliform, and Enterobacteriaceae bacteria counts.
Sumac berries are rich with tannins, a chemical substance found in plants that is known to have natural antimicrobials and antioxidant characteristics.
Scientists made the sumac extract by soaking the berries for 12 hours and then crushing and filtering the remains. The water-extract was then heat pasteurized for sterilization.
The extract's performance was measured against distilled water and lactic acid in a controlled study that took bacteria measurements over a 14-day period.
Scientists found that 12 ml of extract per 100 g of chicken wings reduced the concentration of spoilage microorganisms and extended the shelf life of processed chicken wings.
The researchers concluded that the sumac extract could replace decontaminants such as lactic acid. This is good news to producers who have recently witnessed the sharp increase in lactic acid prices due hikes in chemical raw material sources and energy costs.
Staghorn sumac is in the same family as poison ivy, however it's leaves do not cause skin irritation and the berries are safe to consume. The plant is native to Mediterranean areas and parts of the Middle East where they are used to replace lemon peel due to their acidicflavours.
The scientists are said the findings could change the preserve market for poultry, but stressed that more research was needed to discover an optimum concentration for poultry products.