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 alter quality and processing attributes in meat and enable commercially viable processing strategies to limit the impact of meat myopathies and quality problems. 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: The effects of emerging myopathies (white striping, wooden breast, etc.) on broiler breast meat composition, quality, processing, and sensory attributes will be investigated. 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 responsible for inferior meat quality characteristics. 1B: To develop nondestructive methods to measure poultry meat, trials will be conducted to evaluate spectroscopy and imaging techniques for measuring 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.
This is the final report for this project which will be replaced by a new project pending the completion of National Program 306 research review. Enhance commercial uses of poultry meat and egg quality by understanding intrinsic properties and developing rapid measurement or detection methods: Over the 5 years, progress has been made to identify poultry muscle characteristics that define meat quality. Research characterized the impact emerging chicken breast myopathies have on meat quality. Trials characterized the complex texture of woody breast (WB) meat in both the raw and cooked states utilizing multiple instrumental measures of texture. The impact of WB and white striping (WS) on meat water-holding capacity (WHC) and color were determined. The unique palatability traits of breast meat with WS and WB were identified through descriptive sensory analysis. Data was generated to determine the relationship between the occurrence and severity of WB and WS myopathies. Effect of postmortem deboning time on WB meat texture was measured. Fluctuations in WHC of breast meat with postmortem time and mechanisms controlling these changes were investigated along with studies comparing WHC assay methods. Collaborative research determined the influence of broiler age, breed, and diet on myopathies. As an extension of the applied meat quality research, biochemical, analytical, and microscopic techniques were utilized to better understand the effects of myopathies on the composition and functionality of muscle and to decipher the mechanisms controlling the complex meat quality traits of WHC and texture. Collaborative research identified differences in calcium regulation and postmortem muscle metabolism in WB. Trials determined the effects of the spaghetti meat (SM) myopathy on meat composition and protein functionality. Preliminary trials were conducted using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to determine how muscle tissue water properties influence meat WHC. Over the 5 years, progress has been made in developing nondestructive imaging and spectroscopy methods to measure poultry meat and egg quality characteristics and defects. Research was completed to test the potential for using various types of non-destructive technologies for assessing meat quality and the presence of myopathies, such as visible-near infrared spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging, optical coherence tomography, Raman spectroscopy, dielectric spectroscopy, hyperspectral microscope imaging, NMR, and 3D imaging. A side-view machine vision system prototype was developed, tested, and patented for detecting WB fillets along a conveyor belt system at commercial line speeds. Research determined the capability of an egg crack detection system for assessing quality traits such as blood and meat spots. Establish improved poultry meat product quality preservation through new commercial processing methods and innovative packaging technologies: Over the 5 years, progress has been made to enable further processing of poultry meat products through marination processing methods and functional ingredients that enhance quality and sensory attributes. Research determined the influence of WB and muscle portioning on processing, quality, and sensory attributes of moisture-enhanced breast meat. Trials determined the quality and sensory effects of including natural ingredients in the formulation of various chicken meat products. Trials tested the quality effects of including proteases during WB marination and of blade tenderizing WB meat. Collaborative research characterized the impact of WB meat inclusion on the quality and sensory characteristics of ground chicken patties, fresh sausage, and frankfurters. Collaborative research investigated meat quality effects of different broiler stunning methods, on-farm slaughter and delayed carcass processing, cooking carcasses without prior chilling, and high-pressure processing. Over the 5 years, progress has been made to develop active packaging materials and treatment systems with antimicrobial properties that preserve quality, extend shelf-life, and/or reduce waste. A cold-plasma based antimicrobial packaging system for treating packaged chicken meat products was developed. The system was tested to determine its effects on product shelf-life, quality, and pathogen reduction. Single factor and response surface methodology experiments were conducted to optimize system parameters. Enable new commercial sensor-in-system flowing-grain microwave moisture and density meters for precision farming and yield monitoring: A microwave sensor for mounting on structures where grains are flowing was designed, calibrated and laboratory tested. Commercial software COMSOL simulations provided optimum design parameters for determination of dielectric properties from near field measurements. Measurements on wheat, corn and soybeans were performed in free space in transmission mode using inexpensive flat patch antennas operating at 5.8 GHz and connected to a vector network analyzer. The first set of measurements was performed on static samples of wheat, corn and soybeans at varying moisture content, bulk density, and temperature. Data were used to generate bulk density and moisture content calibration equations with temperature compensation for each grain using several calibration algorithms. These equations were used to predict bulk density and moisture for flowing grain and seed samples. Thousands of dielectric data were collected for wheat, corn, and soybeans at different flowing rate. Calibration algorithms were compared for performance on moisture and density prediction. Moisture content was predicted with a standard error of calibration of 0.5-0.8% and bulk density with a standard error of calibration of 1- 2%. A sensor prototype, made with off-the-shelf components, was assembled, tested, and laboratory calibrated for wheat, corn, and soybeans. The system can be easily mounted on a combine, conveyor belt, or pipe to provide real-time measurements. Enable a portable, commercial microwave meter to create capacity for rapid grading in-shell almond and peanut by determining moisture, meat, and foreign material contents: Several microwave prototypes were designed, calibrated in the laboratory, and successfully field tested. For simultaneous determination of moisture and foreign material content, a microwave meter, operating at 10 GHz and comprised of two subsystems, was developed. Subsystems for measurements on 9 clean unshelled nuts and on nuts mixed with foreign materials (leaves, sticks, stones, raisins, etc.) were developed. The subsystem for measurements on samples including foreign materials had a rectangular cross section sample holder filled with uncleaned peanuts placed in between an array of 4, in-house made, low-cost antennas as transmitters on one side, and an array of 4 antennas as receivers on the other. This original design increased resolution for determining foreign materials, which are distributed randomly within the sample. By combining dielectric data measured with both subsystems, moisture and foreign materials content was determined simultaneously. Moisture contents of in-shell nuts and kernels were predicted with a standard error of performance of <0.6%. Foreign material content was predicted using an artificial neural network algorithm with a standard error of performance of 1.36%. A modified version of the prototype with a cubic sample holder allowed measurements on three sides of the sample by rotating the holder to provide better averaging over the entire sample volume. However, moisture and foreign material contents were determined with accuracies similar to those with the rectangular cross section sample holder. Two prototypes (operating frequencies of 5.8 and 9.6 GHz) with smaller cubic sample holder (capacity ~170 g) were assembled, calibrated, and tested for in-shell nuts in the laboratory and field. These prototypes are compact and ideal for rapid determination of moisture and foreign material contents when the truck load enters the buying point and will be instrumental in deciding quickly the next step: drying, cleaning, or grading. This will result in significant reductions in time and labor and yield savings for growers, shellers, and buying points. A novel microwave sensor was developed for rapid and simultaneous determination of moisture and meat content in individual in-shell nut. The sensor prototype operates at 5.8 GHz in reflection mode and uses microwave six-port technology for determining dielectric properties from electromagnetic power measurements. A patent was prepared on this novel sensor. The microwave sensing technology was licensed and a commercial grade meter is being commercially developed. Enable new commercial microwave sensors for monitoring controlled drying of grains, peanuts and other seeds: Two laboratory scale drying systems, one for grains and seeds and one for peanuts, were designed and tested for real-time monitoring of drying parameters. For each material, microwave sensors were embedded inside the drying system at different heights and provided moisture readings during drying. The microwave sensors, operating at 5.8 GHz, were calibrated for grains, seeds and peanuts of different bulk density, moisture content, and temperature. Density-independent calibration algorithms with temperature compensation were used for moisture determination from dielectric properties measurements. For peanuts, the microwave sensors provided both pod and kernel moisture content. Simultaneously with the microwave sensors, temperature and humidity sensors were used to monitor air in the vicinity of the sensors, exhaust air, and air in the plenum. Several units were assembled and tested both in the laboratory and field. For peanuts, continuous monitoring of the commercial drying process revealed nonbeneficial periods which resulted in up to $8000 in wasted energy expenses. Over 50,000 data points were collected.
1. Novel sensor for determining quality attributes of in-shell nuts. ARS researchers in Athens, Georgia, developed a novel microwave sensor prototype for rapid and nondestructive determination of moisture content and meat content in individual in-shell nuts. This technology will be instrumental in optimizing the grading process, improving quality, and reducing costs for farmers, shellers, and buying points.
2. Product utilization strategy for chicken meat with the woody breast defect. The woody breast condition is an emerging quality defect observed in chicken breast meat that costs the poultry industry millions of dollars annually due to product downgrades and discards. ARS researchers in Athens, Georgia, demonstrated, using descriptive sensory analysis, that the palatability characteristics of various types of further-processed meat products, such as fresh sausages and frankfurters, were unaffected by including woody breast meat in the formulations of the products. Woody breast meat was found to be equivalent to that of normal chicken meat for product flavor and texture in comminuted products. These findings demonstrate commercially viable, product utilization strategies that the meat processing industry can implement to diminish the negative financial impact caused by the woody breast meat defect.
3. New insights into meat quality changes during the cooking of chicken meat. The loss of meat moisture during cooking is directly related with the product yield of pre-cooked chicken meat products and eating quality. ARS researchers in Athens, Georgia, investigated the relationships between the changes that occur in the major protein components of the meat, temperature, and moisture loss during the cooking process in broiler breast meat. They found that cooking loss increased as breast meat heated to 53 C, did not change from 53-68 C, and then increased at higher temperatures. Using an advanced analytical technique to characterize the chemical and physical nature of the water in the muscle tissue, the researchers were able to identify the water properties of the tissue most closely related to cook loss. These findings will provide information necessary for developing cooking methodologies to optimize product quality.
4. Instrumental assessment of chicken meat texture traits. The woody breast condition is a meat quality defect that causes abnormal texture traits in broiler breast meat in both the raw and cooked states. Through a series of studies, ARS researchers in Athens, Georgia, compared multiple techniques for instrumentally assessing the unique meat texture characteristics of breast meat with the woody breast defect. Compression force measurements, taken on raw fillets, were found to have the closest relationship to the subjective scoring system that is commonly used for assessing the woody breast condition in boneless, skinless breast meat. These findings provide vital information on methodologies and identify a useful tool for researchers and industry personnel to standardize techniques as they seek to investigate the complex texture phenomena in woody breast meat and to understand the degrees of severity of this condition.
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