Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2005
Publication Date: 5/1/2005
Citation: Bianchi, M., Fletcher, D.L., Smith, D.P. 2005. Physical and functional properties of intact and ground pale broiler breast meat. Poultry Science. 84:803-808. Interpretive Summary: Broiler breast meat is processed into a variety of products: intact, it may be used for many different types of fillet products; ground, it is used in many formed products such as patties and nuggets. However, some broiler meat has shown a tendency to appear lighter than normal, which has been associated with poorer than average meat functionality (mushy, yet dry and stringy). This study was conducted to determine the extent of the problem for both intact and ground broiler meat, and whether means to improve quality (for the ground meat) could be developed. Pale meat was found to have poorer quality than normal appearing meat. Changing the pH of the pale meat (ground) improved the quality of it, but not to the level of quality of the normal meat.
Technical Abstract: The functional and physical properties of intact and ground meat were determined during four replicate trials on a total of 180 pale (L* > 53) and normal (46 < L* < 53) boneless, skinless breast fillets collected from two commercial processing plants. At 24h post-mortem, lightness (L*), redness (a*), yellowness (b*), and pH were determined on each fillet. The left fillet from each breast was ground and used to determine cook loss (CL) and Allo-Kramer shear (AK) on meat patties as well as moisture uptake (MU) and CL on meat slurries before and after adjustment to the pale meat pH of 5.9. The right fillet from each breast was kept intact and used to determine expressible moisture (EM), CL, and AK on the intact meat. Compared to normal fillets, pale fillets exhibited significantly higher L* values, lower ultimate pH (5.67 vs 5.94), higher AK (3.5 vs 2.9 kg/g), higher EM, lower MU, and higher CL measured on the intact fillets, ground meat patties, and meat slurries. Adjusting the pH of the pale meat slurries to normal meat pH (5.9), resulted in a higher MU (11.05 vs 3.69 %), indicating a partial restoration of protein functionality. These results indicate that wide differences in raw broiler breast meat color, mainly due to differences in the muscle pH, are related to important variations in the water holding and binding capacity of the meat. The effect of low meat pH can be partially ameliorated in ground meat using pH adjustment.