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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 #286400

Title: Impact of carcass scalding and chilling on muscle proteins and meat quality of broiler breast fillets

item Bowker, Brian
item Zhuang, Hong
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff

Submitted to: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2014
Publication Date: 6/1/2014
Citation: Bowker, B.C., Zhuang, H., Buhr, R.J. 2014. Impact of carcass scalding and chilling on muscle proteins and meat quality of broiler breast fillets. LWT - Food Science and Technology. 59:156-162.

Interpretive Summary: Carcass chilling and scalding are important steps in poultry processing that influence product safety and quality. The interacting effects of scalding method (hard vs. soft) and chilling method (air vs. water) on fresh meat quality are not well understood. This study was conducted to investigate this interaction and to determine the underlying mechanisms that influence meat quality. Chilling method was found to have a more profound effect on meat quality than scalding method in broiler breast fillets. Air chilling resulted in more tender fillets with a higher water-holding capacity compared to water chilled carcasses. Hard and soft scalded carcasses exhibited similar breast meat quality traits. Chilling influences muscle protein traits that are important in the development of further processed meat products.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of scalding and chilling methods on meat quality and muscle protein characteristics. Broilers (6-7 wk old) were slaughtered and carcasses were either hard scalded (60°C, 1.5 min) or soft scalded (52.8°C, 3 min). Following picking and evisceration, carcasses were either immersion chilled (IC: 0.5°C, 40 min, air agitated) or air chilled (AC: 0.5°C, 120 min, 86-90% RH). At 4 h postmortem, breast fillets were removed from carcass. Muscle pH, color, moisture, drip loss, cook yield, and shear force were measured. Protein solubility, sarcomere length, and electrophoretic profiles of muscle proteins were also measured. For meat quality measurements, scalding by chilling treatment interactions were not significant. Air chilled carcasses had higher pHu, lower drip loss and lower shear force than IC carcasses. Cook yield, color (L*a*b*), and moisture were not different between chilling treatments. Scalding treatments did not influence meat quality traits. Sarcoplasmic protein solubility was not influenced by chilling, but was higher in hard than soft scalded carcasses. Myofibrillar protein solubility exhibited a significant scalding by chilling interaction, with soft scalded IC carcasses having the highest solubility. Sarcomere length was longer in soft scalded carcasses. Gel electrophoresis of myofibrillar proteins revealed that four protein bands (53-165 kDa) were influenced by chilling treatment and that three protein bands (105-165 kDa) were influenced by scalding treatment. Gel electrophoresis of sarcoplasmic proteins revealed that chilling influenced the relative abundance of four protein bands (23-71 kDa) and scalding influenced the relative abundance of three protein bands (39-90 kDa). Data suggest that different muscle temperature profiles due to carcass scalding and chilling regimes, alters not only meat quality but also muscle protein solubility and degradation.