Submitted to: Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 30, 2011
Publication Date: February 4, 2011
Citation: Bowker, B.C., Solomon, M.B. 2011. Utilization of sparker induced pressure waves to tenderize meat. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies. 12(2):135-141. Interpretive Summary: The application of high pressure shockwaves to raw meat has been shown to improve tenderness in the final cooked product. Alternative methods to generate such shockwaves have been sought to replace the proven method of shockwave generation using explosives, which limit industry application of this technology. This study investigated the feasibility of tenderizing beef strip loins using high pressure shockwaves generated from a high efficiency compact annular sparker source. These sparkers generate shockwaves through a high voltage electrical pulse creating a plasma discharge. The findings of this study demonstrated that sparker induced high pressure shockwaves have great potential for tenderizing meat and have further identified key parameters that influence sparker tenderization. This information will be used for the further development of an industry compatible sparker system for tenderizing meat using high pressure shockwaves.
Technical Abstract: This study investigated the feasibility of tenderizing meat using high pressure waves generated from a sparker source. Beef strip loins were cut into steaks from the anterior end and one to two steaks from each strip loin were randomly selected to serve as non-treated controls and the remaining steaks were high pressure treated. Approximate pressure and configuration parameters for meat tenderization were determined in a series of tests. High pressure treatment decreased Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) up to 36% compared to controls. A shorter distance between the sparker head and the meat sample (7.5-cm vs. 15 cm) and having the test container fixed to the floor, as opposed to suspended in the air, were determined to enhance tenderization capabilities. The number and magnitude of the pressure pulses from the sparker source were also determined to greatly impact tenderization of the strip loins. Data from this study have demonstrated that sparker induced high pressure waves have great potential for tenderizing meat and have further identified key parameters that influence sparker tenderization.