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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit » Research » Research Project #429688

Research Project: Assessment and Improvement of Poultry Meat, Egg, and Feed Quality

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

2018 Annual Report

1. Enhance commercial uses of poultry meat and egg quality by understanding intrinsic properties and developing rapid measurement or detection methods. 1A. Identify poultry muscle characteristics that define meat quality. 1B. Develop nondestructive imaging and spectroscopy methods to measure poultry meat and egg quality characteristics and defects. 2. Establish improved poultry meat product quality preservation through new commercial processing methods and innovative packaging technologies. 2A. Enable further processing of poultry meat products through marination processing methods and functional ingredients that enhance quality and sensory attributes. 2B. Develop active packaging materials and treatment systems with antimicrobial properties that preserve quality, extend shelf life, and/or reduce waste. 3. Design new commercial alternative protein feed formulations that improve poultry quality and value. 3A. Identify alternative meal components for poultry feed formulations. 3B. Develop spectroscopic methods to rapidly assess alternative feed meals. 4. Enable new commercial sensor-in-system flowing-grain microwave moisture and density meters for precision farming and yield monitoring. 5. Enable a portable, commercial microwave meter to create capacity for rapid grading in-shell almond and peanut by determining moisture content, meat content, and foreign material contents. 6. Enable new commercial microwave sensors for monitoring controlled drying of grains, peanuts and other seeds.

1A: To decipher poultry muscle properties that affect meat quality, changes in meat water holding capacity (WHC) during the first 24 h postmortem and throughout extended storage will be evaluated in broiler breast meat deboned at different times. Samples will be collected for biochemical and structural analyses to determine the mechanisms controlling WHC. The effects of the white striping and wooden breast conditions on breast meat quality, marination, and sensory attributes will be studied. 1B: To develop nondestructive methods to measure poultry meat, trials will be conducted to evaluate spectroscopy and imaging techniques for measuring WHC and breast meat abnormalities. For nondestructive imaging of egg quality, a modified pressure imaging system will be expanded to grade eggs for abnormal shell texture, blood and meat spots, air-cell depth, and yolk shadow. The system will be redesigned for online operation. 2A: The effects of natural ingredients on the functional, processing, and sensory attributes of further processed poultry meat products with reduced sodium and phosphate contents will be evaluated. 2B: To develop active packaging materials and treatment systems with antimicrobial properties that preserve meat quality and extend shelf life, optimal cold plasma based treatment conditions for microbial reduction, shelf-life extension, and sensory quality retention on different fresh poultry meat products will be identified and validated. Fresh poultry meat packaging types and treatment configurations will also be assessed. 3A: To identify alternative meal components for poultry feeds, industrial oilseed crops will be evaluated. A complete economic analysis will be performed to identify prospective replacements for soybean meal. 3B: To develop spectroscopic methods to rapidly assess alternative feed meals, correlation equations will be developed from the spectral libraries of alternative seed meals to enable on-line measurement. Chemometric methods will be used to classify substrates and provide quality assessments of feed formulations. 4: A microwave frequency (>3 GHz) commercial sensor, operating in free-space transmission and using dielectric-based algorithms for grain bulk density and moisture content determination, will be tested in dynamic (flowing) situations. A prototype sensor will then be developed with off-the shelf components for wheat, corn, and soybeans. 5: Prototype from 4 above will be adapted for rapid grading of in-shell almonds and peanuts by collecting initial dielectric data while varying nut density, moisture content, temperature, meat content, sample foreign material, and sensor frequency. These data will then be used for a new algorithm. 6: Prototype from 5 above will be incorporated into a quarter-scale drying system with temperature and humidity sensors to demonstrate real-time drying while optimizing drying time, energy, and product quality. Measurements on peanuts, cereal grains and oilseeds will be collected.

Progress Report
Research was conducted to understand the fundamental chemical and structural properties that influence the quality attributes of fresh and further-processed poultry products. Meat quality, composition, and biochemical attributes were measured in broiler breast fillets exhibiting the woody breast and spaghetti meat myopathies. Trials were completed to determine the relationship between various measures of water-holding capacity in broiler breast meat. Ongoing collaborative research was conducted to determine the influence of broiler type and age on meat quality, composition, and the incidence of myopathies. Collaborative research trials were conducted on the early postmortem metabolism and muscle shortening characteristics of woody breast meat. An experiment utilizing multiple microscopic and imaging techniques was conducted to gain insight into the unique structural characteristics of the muscle surface properties of breast fillets exhibiting the woody breast, white striping, and spaghetti meat myopathies. As part of a CRADA with a poultry equipment manufacturer, research was conducted to further the development of a rapid, imaging based technology for sorting breast fillets based on the woody breast myopathy. Data collected from the past 4 years of research were compiled and analyzed to determine the relationship between the woody breast condition, white striping, visual hemorrhages, and fillet size. Mathematical models based on hyperspectral images were developed for predicting multiple meat quality characteristics in poultry breast meat. Internal egg quality data were collected to evaluate the optimum conditions for imaging egg-yolk shadow. Research was conducted to develop further-processing and packaging techniques for preserving and enhancing quality attributes in poultry meat products. Trials were conducted to determine the potential for incorporating natural enzyme ingredients into moisture enhanced meat products to minimize the negative effects of the woody breast myopathy. Trials were conducted to determine the optimal in-package ozone treatments needed for improving the shelf-life and food safety of chicken breast meat. Trials were conducted to determine the effectiveness of using blade tenderization to improve the texture of breast fillets exhibiting the woody breast myopathy. In order to investigate new methods to enhance product utilization, trials were also conducted to determine the influence of the woody breast myopathy on the processing and quality attributes of further-processed sausage products. Collaborative trials were conducted to determine the influence of high pressure processing on the meat quality and functionality characteristics of chicken breast and leg meat.

1. Imaging-based technology for detecting woody breast meat. Many poultry processors are currently sorting breast meat with the woody breast condition based on visual traits such as fillet shape and the presence of surface hemorrhaging and fluid. Unfortunately, the most accurate test for the condition is through manual product handling to assess the hardness and rigidity of the breast meat. ARS researchers at Athens, Georgia, determined that the rigidity of broiler breast meat can be measured rapidly with an imaging-based technology integrated into a conveyor belt line as an accurate indicator of the woody breast condition. The development of this imaging system will provide the poultry industry with a tool that can be used for accurate product segregation at commercial processing line speeds.

2. Identification of unique woody breast meat feature in cooked product. Poultry breast fillets with the woody breast myopathy exhibit inferior processing and eating quality. Breast fillets with this myopathy are often sorted in the processing plant based on the visual assessment of fillet shape and the presence of surface hemorrhaging and exudate. ARS researchers at Athens, Georgia, demonstrated that the woody breast condition can cause significant discoloration on the surface of cooked whole breast fillets despite the lack of other visual indicators of the condition on the raw product. Their research demonstrates that additional criteria may be required to adequately sort broiler breast fillets in the processing plant.

3. Hyperspectral imaging technique for predicting poultry meat quality. Being able to sort fresh poultry meat in the processing plant based on the projected final meat quality attributes would help to improve product uniformity and reduce negative consumer experiences with fresh poultry meat products. Unfortunately, rapid, non-destructive sorting technologies that accurately predict poultry meat quality are lacking. ARS researchers at Athens, Georgia, developed models based on hyperspectral imaging data for predicting tenderness, water-holding capacity, color, meat pH, and the pale, soft, exudative (PSE) condition in broiler breast fillets. These models provide the basis for the further development of a hyperspectral imaging system for in-plant sorting of fresh poultry meat based on end product meat quality attributes.

4. In-package ozone treatment system for fresh poultry meat. The development of an effective post-packaging microbial treatment system for fresh poultry meat products will help to reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses and reduce product loss due to spoilage. ARS researchers at Athens, Georgia, identified the optimal package atmosphere conditions and treatment parameters for an in-package ozone treatment system for fresh poultry meat. Their research demonstrates the potential for using the developed in-package treatment system for extending product shelf life and improving food safety in fresh poultry meat.

Review Publications
Jiang, H., Wang, W., Zhuang, H., Yoon, S.C., Li, Y. 2018. Visible and near-infrared hyperspectral imaging for cooking loss classification of fresh broiler breast fillets. Applied Sciences. doi:10.3390/app8020256.
Noh, J., Lee, D., Lim, T., Lee, J., Day, J.M., Song, C. 2018. Isolation and genomic characterization of a novel avian orthoreovirus in Korea, 2014. Archives of Virology. 163:1307-1316.
Trimpert, J., Groenke, N., Jenckel, M., He, S., Kunec, D., Szpara, M.L., Spatz, S.J., Osterrieder, N., Mcmahon, D.P. 2017. A phylogenomic analysis of Marek’s disease virus reveals independent paths to virulence in Eurasia and North America. Evolutionary Applications. 10(10):1091-1101.
Bowker, B.C. 2017. Developments in our understanding of water-holding capacity. Book Chapter. 77-113.
Bowker, B.C., Maxwell, A., Zhuang, H., Adhikari, K. 2018. Marination and cooking performance of portioned broiler breast fillets with the woody breast condition. Poultry Science. 97:2966-2970.
Jiang, H., Yoon, S.C., Zhuang, H., Wang, W., Lawrence, K.C., Yang, Y., Jia, B. 2018. Tenderness classification of fresh broiler breast fillets using visible and near-infrared hyperspectral imaging. Meat Science. 139:82-90.
Jiang, H., Yoon, S.C., Zhuang, H., Wang, W., Yang, Y. 2017. Evaluation of factors in development of Vis/NIR spectroscopy models for discriminating PSE, DFD and normal broiler breast meat. British Poultry Science. 58(6):673-680.
Maxwell, A., Bowker, B.C., Zhuang, H., Chatterjee, D., Adhikari, K. 2018. Descriptive sensory analysis of marinated and non-marinated woody breast fillet portions. Poultry Science. 97:2971-2978.
Wang, J., Zhuang, H., Lawrence, K.C., Zhang, J. 2017. Disinfection of fresh chicken breast fillets with in-package atmospheric cold plasma: effect of treatment voltage and time. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 124:1212-1219.
Yang, Y., Wang, W., Zhuang, H., Yoon, S.C., Jiang, H. 2018. Fusion of spectra and texture data of hyperspectral imaging for the prediction of the water-holding capacity of fresh chicken breast filets. Applied Sciences. 8(4), 640. doi:10.3390/app8040640.
Zhao, X., Zhuang, H., Yoon, S.C., Dong, Y., Wang, W., Zhao, W. 2017. Electrical impedance spectroscopy for quality assessment of meat and fish: A review on basic principles, measurement methods, and recent advances. Journal of Food Quality. Volume 2017, Article ID 6370739, 16 pgs.
Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C., Barth, M.M., Zhang, J. 2018. Modified-atmosphere packaging for nonthermal processing of food – high CO2 package for fresh meat and produce. Packaging for Nonthermal Processing of Food, Second Edition. doi:10.1002/9781119126881.ch4.
Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C., Savage, E.M. 2017. Assessment of juiciness intensity of cooked chicken pectoralis major. Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences. 2017(6):1-9.