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Title: Comparisons of sensory descriptive flavor and texture profiles of cooked broiler breast fillets categorized by raw meat color lightness values

item Zhuang, Hong
item Savage, Elizabeth

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2010
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Citation: Zhuang, H., Savage, E.M. 2010. Comparisons of sensory descriptive flavor and texture profiles of cooked broiler breast fillets categorized by raw meat color lightness values. Poult. Sci. 89: 1049-1055.

Interpretive Summary: The color of boneless skinless chicken breast products in the retail market can vary significantly. It has been demonstrated that the variations in the color are closely associated with physical properties (shear force), chemical properties (pH, protein status), and muscle functionality (drip loss, cook yield and texture) of poultry breast muscle, and could cause consumer’s concerns with the meat quality. However, there is no reported study showing if poultry breast muscle color can affect meat palatability (or sensory quality). Our experiments demonstrate that there were no differences in flavor of cooked poultry breast fillets between the light color meat and darker color meat. However, the texture of lighter color meat was significantly different from that of either normal color or dark color meat, which did not different from each other. The light meat was scored higher in sensory hardness, chewiness, rate of breakdown and cohesiveness characteristics. These results indicate that to consumers light color meat and dark color chicken meat taste similar or have the similar flavour; however, the light meat might be perceived harder, chewier and more cohesive compared with normal and darker color meat. Consumers will not be able to tell any differences in meat texture and flavor between the cooked normal color and dark color chicken breast fillets.

Technical Abstract: Three replicate trials were conducted to compare sensory descriptive profiles of cooked broiler breast fillets categorized by raw meat color lightness or CIELAB L* values (L*). In each trial, 20 light, 20 dark and 30 random fillets (42d old birds and deboned at 6-8h postmortem) were obtained from a commercial processing plant. On return to the laboratory, CIE L* a* b* (medial side), pH and weights were measured. Ten fillets for each of 3 lightness categories were chosen based on the L* values as follows: light, L* > 60; medium (middle of random group), 55 < L* < 59; and, dark, L* < 55. Cook yield, Warner-Bratzler shear force and descriptive sensory were measured on the chosen fillets after 7 day frozen storage followed by cooking to an endpoint temperature of 78-80oC. Sensory evaluations were performed by trained descriptive panelists using 0-15 point universal intensity scales for 9 flavor and 8 texture attributes. Our results show that there were significant differences among the three lightness categories for pH, thaw loss, cook yield and shear force. There were no significant differences in average sensory flavor scores between the three lightness categories. However, the average intensity scores of the texture attributes, cohesiveness, hardness, rate of breakdown and chewiness of the light fillets were significantly higher than either the dark or the medium fillets (p < 0.01), which did not differ from each other. These results indicate that sensory flavor profiles of cooked broiler breast fillets are similar regardless of raw meat color lightness (or L* values). There is no difference in the texture profiles between the cooked medium and dark fillets. But the sensory texture profile of fillets categorized as light based on CIELAB L* values is different from those of the fillets categorized as either medium or dark.