Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/12/2007
Publication Date: 12/30/2007
Citation: Zhuang, H., Nelson, S.O., Trabelsi, S., Savage, E.M. 2008. Dielectric Properties of Uncooked Chicken Breast Muscles from 10 to 1800 MHz. Poultry Science. 86:2433-2440. Interpretive Summary: Quality, including taste, freshness and tenderness, has been the major aspect of consumer satisfaction with chicken meat. However, so far, little attempt has been made to assess and monitor chicken meat quality, including juiciness and tenderness by using rapid and non-destructive instrumental methods in the poultry industry. Dielectric property measurements have potential to assess meat quality nondestructively. Our research shows that the dielectric property profiles of chicken breast muscles depend on radio and microwave frequencies and temperature. The muscle type and deboning time (the postmortem time when the chicken breast is removed from carcasses) significantly affect the dielectric properties and meat quality, such as color, water holding capacity and Warner-Bratzler shear force value (an indication of relative tenderness), of chicken breast muscles. Our results suggest that there is a potential to use dielectric property measurements to assess the muscle types, deboning time and quality of chicken meats nondestructively.
Technical Abstract: The dielectric properties, consisting of the dielectric constant and loss factor, were measured (by using an open-ended coaxial-line probe) for uncooked chicken breast muscle Pectoralis major and Pectoralis minor, deboned at 2 and 24 h postmortem, over the frequency range from 10 to 1800 MHz at temperatures ranging from 5 to 85 degrees C. The dielectric property profiles of chicken breast muscle are dependent upon the radio-wave and microwave frequencies and temperature. Increasing frequency from 10 to 1800 MHz results in decreasing values of the dielectric constant and loss factor regardless of temperature in this range, chicken breast muscle type or deboning time. However, the effect of temperature varies with the dielectric property, frequency, muscle type and deboning time. There are no differences in the dielectric constant and loss factor values at frequencies of either 26 MHz or 1800 MHz between samples deboned at 2 and at 24 h postmortem. However, the muscle type significantly affects the average values of both the dielectric constant and loss factor, with Pectoralis minor having significantly higher average values. Both the deboning time and muscle type significantly affect the average values of the loss tangent (dielectric loss factor/dielectric constant) at both 26 MHz and 1800 MHz, with Pectoralis minor having higher values than Pectoralis major and 2-h samples having higher values than 24-h samples. Our quality measurements also show there are significant differences in chicken meat quality characteristics, including color, pH, drip loss, water holding capacity, and texture (Warner-Bratzler shear force value) between the different muscle types and between different deboning times in the same test. These results suggest that there is a probable potential for using dielectric property measurements to assess the quality of chicken meat.