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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #272847

Title: Microstructure alterations in beef intramuscular connective tissue caused by hydrodynamic pressure processing

item ZUCKERMAN, HADASA - Caprion Pharmaceuticals
item Bowker, Brian
item Eastridge, Janet
item Solomon, Morse

Submitted to: Meat Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2013
Publication Date: 6/5/2013
Citation: Zuckerman, H., Bowker, B.C., Eastridge, J.S., Solomon, M.B. 2013. Microstructure alterations in beef intramuscular connective tissue caused by hydrodynamic pressure processing. Meat Science. 95(3):603-607.

Interpretive Summary: Hydrodynamic pressure processing (HDP) is an emerging postharvest technology that utilizes high pressure shockwaves to improve fresh beef tenderness. The mechanism by which HDP influences tenderness characteristics is not well understood. Since intramuscular connective tissue is known to influence beef tenderness, this study was conducted to investigate the effect of HDP on intramuscular connective tissue in a muscle from the beef round. Using scanning electron microscopy to evaluate HDP treated beef, data from this study demonstrated that HDP shockwaves impact the microstructure and integrity of intramuscular connective tissue. These data further the understanding of the mechanism of HDP tenderization and suggest that HDP has potential for reducing toughness in beef that is considered low quality due to high amounts of intramuscular connective tissue.

Technical Abstract: Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was utilized to evaluate microstructural changes in intramuscular connective tissue of beef semimembranosus muscle subjected to hydrodynamic pressure processing (HDP). Samples were HDP treated in a plastic container (HDP-PC) or a steel commercial unit (HDP-CU). Control and HDP samples were obtained immediately post-treatment and after 14 days of aging for SEM and Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) analysis. Immediately pos-treatment, HDP treated samples exhibited lower (P<0.01) WBSF than controls. After aging, HDP-PC samples had lower (P<0.01) WBSF than aged controls. SEM analysis indicated that HDP-PC treatment disrupted the integrity of the collagen fibril network of the endomysium in both non-aged and aged samples. Aging effects on the intramuscular connective tissue were observed in HDP-PC and control samples. Both WBSF and connective tissue changes were greater in HDP-PC than HDP-CU treated samples. Data suggest that shockwave alterations to connective tissue contribute to the meat tenderization effect of HDP.