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Effects of Pulsed Electric Fields on Turkey Meat

10 June 2015

An assessment of the impact of pulsed electric fields processing factors on oxidation, colour, texture, and sensory attributes of turkey breast meat found there was a difference in texture and smell.

Pulsed electric fields (PEF) are a novel non-thermal technology that has the potential to cause physical disruption to muscle tissue which in turn could alter the sensorial aspects of meat in both a positive way through enhanced tenderization) and a negative way through the development of off-flavour.

If there is a risk of off-flavour development, it should be identified before embarking on an extensive investigation on pulsed electric fields in meat tenderisation.

A research team from the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin chose turkey meat for this purpose as it is particularly prone to oxidation.

The researchers Cristina Arroyo, Sara Eslami, Nigel P. Brunton, Joshua M. Arimi, Francesco Noci and James G. Lyng said the objective of the study was to investigate the effect of various pulsed electric fields treatments on the quality attributes of turkey breast meat.

Turkey breast meat obtained one day after slaughter was treated in a batch pulsed electric fields chamber with increasing electric field strength up to 3 kV/cm.

It was then analysed for lipid oxidation by thiobarbituric acid reactive substances assay (TBARS) with up to five days’ storage at 4°C in aerobic conditions.

In a separate experiment, turkey breast meat samples were exposed to pulsed electric fields under various combinations of pulse number, frequency, and voltage.

Following pulsed electric fields treatments weight loss, cook loss, lipid oxidation, texture, and colour were assessed by instrumental methods.

A sensory analysis was also performed to determine consumer acceptability for colour, texture, and odour of the samples.

Lipid oxidation in all pulsed electric fields-treated samples progressed at the same rate with storage as the untreated samples and was not found to be significantly different to the control.

Under the conditions examined pulsed electric fields treatments did not induce differences in instrumentally measured weight loss, cook loss, lipid oxidation, texture, and colour both in the raw and cooked meat either on fresh or frozen samples.

However, the sensory evaluation suggested that panelists could detect slight differences between the pulsed electric fields-treated samples and the controls in terms of texture and odour.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

June 2015

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