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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 #346232

Research Project: Assessment and Improvement of Poultry Meat, Egg, and Feed Quality

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: The wooden breast condition results in surface discoloration of cooked broiler pectoralis major

item Zhuang, Hong
item Bowker, Brian

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/18/2018
Publication Date: 7/3/2018
Citation: Zhuang, H., Bowker, B.C. 2018. The wooden breast condition results in surface discoloration of cooked broiler pectoralis major. Poultry Science. 97:4458-4461.

Interpretive Summary: The woody breast (WB) condition is a meat defect observed in chicken breast meat (pectoralis major) globally. Breast meat with the WB condition exhibits altered muscle tissue histology, chemical compositions, and gene expressions. In addition, the WB condition affects raw meat quality and functionality and cooked meat eating quality, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars per year loss to the poultry industry. In this study we compared cooked color of normal chicken breast fillets to the WB fillets. Results demonstrated that wooden breast condition can also cause discoloration on the skin-side surface of cooked boneless skinless chicken breast. The cooked WB fillet surface is significantly darker, redder, and yellower than the cooked normal fillet surface. Marinated or frozen WB fillets still exhibit the discoloration after cooking. These data reveal that in addition to the effects on raw meat quality and sensory texture attributes of cooked meat, the severe WB condition could also result in significant changes in appearance of cooked chicken breast meat.

Technical Abstract: Published studies have shown that the woody breast (WB) condition affects macroscopic appearances, quality, and functionality of raw broiler breast fillets (pectoralis major) and texture of both raw and cooked fillets. In this study we demonstrated that the WB condition also significantly affects the color or appearance of cooked breast fillets indicated with CIEL*a*b* measurements. Raw broiler breast fillets (deboned at 3 h post-mortem) were collected from a commercial plant and sorted into normal and severe WBC categories based on palpable hardness and rigidity throughout the breast fillets. The fillets were either cooked directly from a fresh state, marinated with 5% salt and 3% sodium tripolyphosphate marinade before being cooked, or stored at -20C until cooking. Samples were cooked to 76C in individual cooking bags in a combi-steam oven. Color (CIEL*a*b*) on both the ventral and dorsal surfaces of cooked samples was measured using a Minolta spectrophotometer CM-700d. There were no differences on the dorsal surfaces (bone side) of cooked fresh fillets regardless of the WB condition and color CIE parameter at the significance of 1% level. However, on the cooked ventral surfaces (skin side), the WB condition caused an increase (P < 0.01) in a* and b* values but a decrease (P < 0.01) in the L* values regardless of marination treatment and frozen storage. L* values of cooked WB fillets were more than 6 units lower but a* and b* values more than 0.5 and 2 units greater than those of cooked normal fillets. Data demonstrate that the severe WB condition significantly influences the ventral surface color of cooked broiler fillets. The cooked surface of WB fillets look darker, redder, and yellower. The detrimental effect on the surface color or appearance is noticeable and cannot be eliminated with marination treatments and frozen storage.