Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Electronic Noses: What Are They and What Are Their Potential Uses in Meat Science

Authors
item Spanier, Arthur
item Braggins, Terry - MIRNZ FOOD TECH & RES LTD

Submitted to: American Meat Science Association Conference Reciprocal Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 14, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Fresh and processed meat products deteriorate in quality during storage. It is critical for the meat industry to have a method available for the fast and reliable measurement of raw and processed meats. Typically, monitoring meat quality, particularly flavor, is based on analysis of hundreds of different odorous molecules that comprise the product's specific odor. While humans can detect odors in the parts per trillion range, attempts to detect the complex odors at levels that may be below the detection limits of conventional instrumentation are very expensive and not always possible. Furthermore, instrumental methods can objectively discriminate odors, but in most cases, the sample must be broken down to its individual components. We set out to see if electronic nose technology (e-nose) would be a useful tool to determine quality in various muscle foods ranging from processed hams such as Proscuitto, Country, Virginia, and Deli, in stored ground beef, and in Serrano dry-cured hams cured for different lengths of time; w examined the ability of the e-nose to distinguish among these foods. Data analysis showed that e-noses were able to distinguish among the various muscle foods. While more studies should be performed, these data suggest that continued development of e-noses will be beneficial to the processor (QA and cost control) and the consumer (for high quality, low cost products).

Technical Abstract: Many meat products, both fresh and processed, deteriorate in quality with advanced aging or storage. Thus, it is critical for the industry to have a method available for the fast and reliable measurement of raw and processed muscle food. Typically, monitoring muscle food quality, particularly flavor quality, is based on analysis of the hundreds of different odorous molecules that comprise the product's specific odor. However, while humans can typically detect odors in the parts per trillion range, attempts to instrumentally detect the complex odors at levels that may be below the detection limits of conventional methods are very expensive and are not always possible. Furthermore, most of the instrumental methods can objectively discriminate odors, but in most cases the sample must be broken down to its individual components. We, thus, set out to see if the developing technology of electronic noses, known as e-nose, would be a valuable tool to determine quality differences in various muscle foods ranging from processed hams such as Proscuitto, Country, Virginia, and Deli, in stored ground beef, and in Serrano dry-cured hams cured for different lengths of time; we examined the ability of various e-nose instruments to distinguish among these foods. Analysis of the data showed that the instruments were able to distinguish among the various muscle foods. While more study should be performed, these data suggests that continued development of e-nose technology will be beneficial to both the processor (for QA and cost control) and the consumer (for high quality, low cost products).

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page