Sheep breeding plays an important environmental, social and economical role in Italy, in particular in Abruzzo and in Teramo province, contributing to soil preservation and local traditions defence.
While the consumption of lamb meat is mainly related to celebrations, on the contrary the meat of sheep and muttons, especially at the end of the career, mostly in the form of the typical “arrosticini” (skewers), is widespread throughout the year, with peaks in summertime. The aim of the project is the upgrading of the quality of sheep “arrosticini”, by the application of mixtures of biopreserving agents containing essential oils extracted from local plants, to extend shelf-life and promote food safety.
The project will evaluate the quality profile of “arrosticini” (chemical composition, lipids content, fatty acids profile) highlighting possible differences due to finishing (in stable during winter and grazing during spring and autumn), related to product shelf-life. In addition, by means of in vitro and in vivo experiments, mixtures of essential oils with antioxidant and antimicrobial activities will be used to extend the shelf-life of sheep arrosticini, packed in modified atmosphere and refrigerated. Although plant extracts are commonly used in processed meats with a protective function against oxidative damage, to achieve stability and improve microbiological safety.