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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality & Safety Assessment Research » Research » Research Project #420383

Research Project: Develop Methods to Assess and Improve Poultry and Eggs Quality

Location: Quality & Safety Assessment Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Develop improved rapid and non-destructive assessment methods for measuring poultry meat and egg quality: 1.A. Develop improved methods for assessing poultry meat quality properties with spectral imaging and vibrational spectroscopy techniques; 1.B. Develop hyperspectral imaging methods to predict sensory descriptive texture profiles or intensity of texture attributes of poultry meat; and 1.C. Develop rapid methods for grading eggs with imaging and spectroscopy. 2. Develop methods to improve poultry processing and product quality: 2.A. Develop methods to improve poultry processing efficiency; 2.B. Evaluate and develop innovative packaging technologies for retention and improvement of poultry meat shelf-life; and 2.C. Assess the influence of packaging safety interventions on the quality and shelf-life of poultry meat. 3. Develop feeds to maintain or improve poultry meat quality: 3.A. Design feed formulations with bioactive components to improve poultry meat nutritional quality; and 3.B. Assess feed formulations designed to improve poultry meat nutritional quality.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The different methods will be used to establish the relationship between muscle water holding capacity (WHC) and spectra because different methods show different aspects of WHC, and WHC values obtained with one method may not correlate well with values obtained with another method (Trout, 1988). The filter-paper method shows the total tightly bound water contents in meat which may not be correlated to the free fluid measured by drip loss. The moisture content shows the total water in the meat and provides very useful information for estimation of the variation in drip loss and filter paper measurements. The measurements from the traditional methods and the spectral imaging and vibrational spectroscopic data will then be analyzed using multivariate statistical approaches to discriminate the fillets based on WHC. Chemometric models will be developed to correlate spectral results with traditional WHC measurements. Since the visible/near infraredNIR spectra can be affected by muscle color lightness and the WHC can be significantly enhanced by marination, the correlation models will be further tested using marinated broiler fillets with different color lightness to test if the model can discriminate between marinated and un-marinated fillets. Hyperspectral imaging methods can be used to predict sensory descriptive texture measurements. The breast fillets will be deboned at 2h, 4h and 24h and the fillets with the same deboning time will be ground to make patties for both spectral imaging collection and sensory evaluation. Broiler carcasses will be also procured and deboned at different postmortem times. The whole fillets will be used to validate the model developed using ground fillets. Broiler fillets (6 each time and total 120 fillets) with different raw meat lightness (CIE L* values ranging from 47 to 65) and the same aging time (6-8h postmortem) will be obtained from a local chicken processing plant (no grinding). Broiler fillets with different lightness (L* value) have been demonstrated to have different sensory and instrumental texture profiles. Improved water management strategies will increase poultry processing efficiency. This research will identify operating conditions and process modifications that can reduce water consumption, operating costs, and environmental impact of process water at poultry plants by methods of engineering process analysis. This includes the development of process models combined with water quality studies that include chemical and biological investigations to predict the efficacy of alternate water management strategies. Poultry feeds formulated with bioactive components can improve the nutritional quality of poultry meat. Alternative sources of bioactive compounds will be identified in agricultural processing waste and residues. Screening of oilseed meals and other agricultural biomass will be performed to isolate lipid fractions that contain compounds with potential benefit for improving the nutritional quality of poultry meat products.

3. Progress Report
Research was initiated on the new poultry meat and egg quality research project. The vacant research scientist position was filled and two fulltime technicians were hired. Progress on poultry meat quality focused on the effects of sample preparation and water-holding capacity of poultry breast meat. The data collection for spectral imaging and vibrational methods to predict broiler breast meat quality water-holding capacity and tenderness was completed. The data included pH, color, moisture content, drip loss, expressible fluid, salt-induced weight gain, hyperspectral imaging spectra, visible, near infrared and dielectric spectra. This will be correlated to water-holding capacity, color, cook yield, and texture shear force (or tenderness). Data analysis is in progress. Meat packaging systems have been installed and are ready for evaluation of modified atmosphere packaging experiments to test the effects on quality and shelf life of poultry meat products packaged in biodegradable films. Collaborations on nanoparticle-based packaging technology were established with the University of Georgia and the Nanjing Agricultural University. A doctoral student has been selected to work on the project. A system for testing the antimicrobial activity of titanium/tungsten oxide nanoparticles is under evaluation. We are also working on developing a more effective method to make titanium/tungsten oxide on nanoparticles to meet our future research needs. We are working closely with the Department of Food Science and Technology, the University of Georgia to develop a gas phase decontamination technique based on ozonation to extend the shelf life and quality of poultry meat products. Polyunsaturated fatty acids were encapsulated by lipid particles for use as poultry feed supplements to improve nutritional quality of poultry meat products. An infrared technique was developed to monitor the degradation of these compounds during storage. The egg micro-crack detection was transported to a whole-egg pasteurizing plant and experiments to detect cracks in shell eggs before and after pasteurization were performed.

4. Accomplishments
1. Degradation of fish oil measured spectroscopically. Fish oil used in functional foods and feeds is susceptible to oxidation. The oxidation products have characteristic spectra that can be used for identification. Fish oil was heated to induce oxidation and analyzed by infrared and mass spectroscopy to correlate the spectral changes that occur with oxidative degradation. This provides the basis for a rapid technique to detect degradation and assure the quality of products formulated with fish oils.