Effects of processing methods and storage conditions on the microflora and chemical content of cattle skin (“wele”)

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A study was conducted to determine the effects of processing and storage methods on the kinds and numbers of microflora and the chemical composition of cattle skin. Fresh cattle skin was obtained from “Mayanka”, a meat processing site at Ahinsan, a suburb of Kumasi, and dehaired using firewood, old rubber tyre scraps and liquified petroleum gas (LPG). The three treatments were designated as Ws (wood-smoked skin), Ts (tyre-smoked skin) and Gs (gas-smoked skin). The processed skins were kept under three different storage conditions (i.e. water, coldroorn and room temperature) for four different durations (24hrs, 72Krs, l2Ohrs and l68hrs). Microbiological analyses were carried out on the fresh unprocessed cattle skin (Fs) and on the treatments for day zero (0), as well as on the treatments (Ws, Ts and Gs) under the various storage conditions for four different durations. The mean total viable count (TVC) values (cfu/cm2) for the various storage conditions were significantly different (P<0.05) throughout the storage periods. The fresh cattle skin recorded a mean TVC value of 1,320,000 (cfu/cm2) which was significantly higher (P<0.05) than the TVC values (cfu/cm2) for treatments Ws (730,000), Ts (1750000) and Gs (15,000) for day zero. The TVC values were higher than the borderline limit of acceptability, which is less than 10,000 cfu/g or l000cfu/crn2 for meat and meat products. Pseudomonad’s and coliform spp. were isolated from the variously processed cattle skin samples. Processing and storage methods significantly (P<0.05) influenced the crude protein, ether extract (fat) and ash contents of the various types of cattle skin. Samples of the variously processed cattle skins were relatively high in their contents of iron, with moderate amounts of magnesium. The zinc, cadmium, nickel and chromium contents were, however, low.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree, 2001