Efficacy of malic acid against Listeria monocytogenes attached to poultry skin during refrigerated storage

Poult Sci. 2013 Jul;92(7):1936-41. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02968.


This work evaluated the effect of malic acid washing on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on poultry legs stored at 4°C for 8 d. Fresh inoculated chicken legs were dipped into a 1 or 2% malic acid solution (vol/vol) for 5 min or distilled water (control). Surface pH values, sensorial characteristics (odor, color, texture, and overall appearance) and L. monocytogenes, mesophile, psychrotroph, and Enterobacteriaceae counts were evaluated after treatment (d 0) and after 1, 3, 6, and 8 d of storage at 4°C. Legs washed with 2% malic acid showed a significant (P < 0.05) inhibitory effect on L. monocytogenes compared with control legs, with a decrease of about 1.66 log units after treatment. Sensory quality was not adversely affected by malic acid. Treatments with malic acid reduced bacterial growth and preserved reasonable sensorial quality after storage at 4°C for 6 d. This study demonstrates that, although malic acid did reduce populations of L. monocytogenes on poultry, it did not completely inactivate the pathogen. The application of malic acid may be used as an additional hurdle contributing to extend the shelf life of raw poultry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Storage / methods*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Listeria monocytogenes / drug effects*
  • Malates / pharmacology*
  • Meat / microbiology*
  • Refrigeration
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Malates
  • malic acid