Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2009
Publication Date: 7/20/2009
Citation: Jones, D.R., Lawrence, K.C., Yoon, S.C., Heitschmidt, G.W. 2009. The effect of negative-pressure microcrack imaging on egg quality during storage. Poultry Science.
Technical Abstract: Microcracks are very small cracks in the shell surface which are difficult to detect by human graders. Microcracks have both food safety and quality implications since the shell is recognized as the first line of defense for the egg. New technology was developed which utilizes a brief negative pressure and imaging to detect microcracks in eggs. Research has shown the system to have a 99.4% accuracy in detecting cracked and intact eggs. A study was undertaken to determine if quality differences were seen between control and negative-pressure imaged eggs during extended cold storage. Three replicates were conducted with eggs stored at 4C for five weeks with weekly quality testing. The physical quality factors monitored were: Haugh units, albumen height, egg weight, shell strength, vitelline membrane strength and elasticity, and whole egg total solids. All measurements were conducted on individual eggs (12/treatment/replicate) each week with the exception of whole egg solids which were determined from 3 pools/treatment/replicate each week. Percent whole egg solids was the only significant (P < 0.05) difference between treatments (23.65% imaged and 23.47% control). There was a significant difference (P < 0.05) for egg weight between replicates (60.82 g, 58.02 g and 60.58 g for replicates 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Imaging eggs in the negative pressure system for microcrack detection did not alter egg quality during extended cold storage. Utilizing the technology would allow for fewer cracked eggs reaching the consumer, consequently enhancing food safety without affecting product quality.