Simple Summary Dry pet food is an often-favored choice by pet owners. In this context, the market offers different options of formulations, mainly meat-meal-based foods, but also fresh-meat-based formulations are more and more often offered as well. In this study, the concentration of biogenic amines and free amino acids in three different chicken-based dry pet food formulations have been analyzed: one of these based on fresh meat, one on meat meal, and one consisting of a mix of these two. The results showed that the fresh-meat-based formulation has a lower quantity of potentially harmful biogenic amines compared to the other formulations, making it the preferable choice when it comes to dry pet food. The pet food market is constantly expanding, and more and more attention is paid to the feeding of pets. Dry foods stand out and are often preferred due to their long shelf life, ease of administration, and low cost. In this context, dry foods are formulated from fresh meats, meat meals, or a mix of the two. These raw materials are often meat not fit for human consumption; they might be subject to contamination and proliferation of microorganisms which, by degrading the organic component, can lead to the formation of undesirable by-products such as biogenic amines. These nitrogenous compounds obtained by decarboxylation of amino acids can therefore be found in high-protein foods, and their ingestion in large quantities can cause intoxication and be harmful. This study aims at analyzing the possible presence of biogenic amines in three different formulations of chicken-based kibbles for pets: one obtained from fresh meat, one from meat meal, and one from a mix of the two. This study is also focused on the presence of free amino acids as they represent the key substrate for decarboxylating enzymes. Mass spectrometry (Q-TOF LC/MS) was used to analyze the presence of biogenic amines and free amino acids. The results show that fresh-meat-based products have a lower content of biogenic amines, and at the same time a higher quantity of free amino acids; on the contrary, meat-meal- and mix-based products have a greater quantity of biogenic amines and a lower concentration of free amino acids, suggesting that there has been a higher microbial proliferation as proved by the total aerobic mesophilic bacteria counts. It is therefore clear that fresh-meat-based kibbles are to be preferred when they are used for preparing dry pet food due to the lowest concentration of biogenic amines.
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