Keeping the quality of cows’ butter by γ-irradiation


  • A. H. Rady Atomic Energy Authority, Nuclear Research Center
  • H. M. Badr Atomic Energy Authority, Nuclear Research Center



Irradiation, Butter, Fatty acid (composition), Stability, Unsaponifiable constituents


This investigation aims to study the use of gamma irradiation for keeping the quality of cows’ butter. Fresh butter samples were exposed to gamma irradiation at doses of 0, 2.5 and 5 kGy followed by refrigerated storage and the effects of these treatments on the microbiological aspects and lipid characteristics of butter samples were studied. Moreover, fatty acid profiles and unsaponifiable matter constituents were determined by gas chromatographic analysis, while the stability of butter was determined by rancimat. The results indicated that gamma irradiation at 2.5 kGy dose reduced the counts of total bacteria, lipolytic bacteria, coliforms, molds and yeasts, however, these counts gradually increased during cold storage. Also irradiation at 5 kGy dose greatly reduced the total bacterial count which gradually increased upon storage, while completely eliminated the other determined microorganisms. Irradiation treatments increased the acid value and peroxide value of butter, while the iodine number was not altered. Moreover, gas chromatographic analysis showed that gamma irradiation slightly increased the total volatile fatty acids, total saturated fatty acids and total hydrocarbons, while slightly decreased the total unsaturated fatty acids and total sterols. In addition, irradiation of butter decreased its stability as determined by rancimat and upon storage of both irradiated and non irradiated butter samples, the acid value gradually increased, while a flexuous changes in the peroxide value were observed. The present study proved that 2.5 and 5 kGy gamma irradiation doses could keep the quality of cows’ butter and increased its shelf life at 4±1ºC for 8 and 12 weeks as compared to 4 weeks for non irradiated butter (based on the visual appearance of mold growth on the surface of samples) without any effects on its sensory properties.


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How to Cite

Rady AH, Badr HM. Keeping the quality of cows’ butter by γ-irradiation. Grasas aceites [Internet]. 2003Dec.30 [cited 2024Mar.3];54(4):410-8. Available from: