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Title: Effect of marination on CIE L* and pH values of chicken breast pectoralis major with different color lightness

item Zhuang, Hong
item Bowker, Brian

Submitted to: European Symposium on Quality of Poultry Meat
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2015
Publication Date: 5/10/2015
Citation: Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C. 2015. Effect of marination on CIE L* and pH values of chicken breast pectoralis major with different color lightness. European Symposium on Quality of Poultry Meat. Online Publication.

Interpretive Summary: Appearance, especially color, and acidity (indicated with pH) of raw poultry breast meat directly and indirectly impact consumer’s selection of raw and cooked products. It has been documented that in the retail market, color of boneless skinless chicken breast meat varies significantly in a package and the pale color negatively affects consumer’s purchase of boneless skinless chicken breast products. The pH variations in the meat are considered to be a major contributor for the inconsistency in color and weepage in meat packages. In addition, raw chicken breast color and pH also influences the color and pH of cooked products. Marination is widely used in poultry industry to improve functionality, yield, and eating quality of finish meat products. Here we demonstrated that marination can also significantly affect the color and pH of raw poultry breast meat products that are removed from carcasses in the early stage postmortem, a common practice for retail poultry breast products. However, the effects depend upon the color, or color lightness, of raw chicken breast meat. For the fillets that look pale, marination can make them darker and increases meat pH. For dark color fillets, marination does not have any effect on meat color lightness, although it results in increased pH value. For normal fillets, marination prevents the color from turning pale and has no effect on pH. These results suggest that the color variation and pH in raw boneless skinless chicken breast products in marketplace can be changed by using marination.

Technical Abstract: Color lightness (CIE L* values) and pH are widely used as quality indicators for raw poultry breast fillets (pectoralis major). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of vacuum-tumbling marination on L* and pH values of raw chicken breast meat with different color lightness. Early deboned [2 h postmortem (PM)] breast fillets from electrically-stimulated broiler carcasses were selected based on their initial color lightness and marinated in a vacuum tumbler (-0.6 atm, 16 rpm, and 20 min) yielding a targeted 15% uptake. Fillet color (dorsal surface) and pH (cranial end) were measured at both 4 h and 48 h PM. Results show that for pale fillets (average L* = 61) there was no difference in L* values between 4h and 48h non-marinated samples. However, for non-marinated normal (average L* = 53) and dark (average L* = 47) fillets, L* values were more than 5 units higher at 48h compared to those at 4h PM (P<0.05). There were no pH differences between the two PM times in non-marinated fillets regardless of the initial color lightness. Marination significantly affected both L* and pH values (P<0.05). In pale fillets, marination reduced L* values by more than 6 units and increased pH by more than 0.2 units (P<0.05). In normal fillets, L* value of marinated fillets at 48h was higher (>1.5 units) than at 4 h PM, but was lower (>3.5 units) than non-marinated samples at 48h. The fillet pH was not influenced by marination or PM time. For dark fillets, L* and pH values of marinated fillets were higher than 4h controls (P<0.05); however, there were no differences in L* and pH values between controls and marinated fillets at 48h PM. Our data demonstrate that the effects of marination on L* and pH values of early-deboned broiler breast meat depend on raw material color lightness. Marination reduces color lightness in pale broiler breast fillets, prevents color lightness from increasing during PM aging in normal fillets, and has no effect on changes in color lightness with PM aging in dark fillets.