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Poult Sci. 2012 Dec;91(12):3214-22. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02266.

The effects of low atmosphere stunning and deboning time on broiler breast meat quality.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion, Box 9805, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State 39762, USA.


Research was conducted to determine the effect of stunning method (low atmosphere pressure, LAPS, and electrical stunning, ES) and deboning time (0.75 and 4 h) on breast meat quality (n = 576, 144 birds per treatment) in a commercial processing plant. Breast meat quality was evaluated through determining pH, Commission Internationale d'Eclairage L*a*b*, cooking yield, shear force, and consumer acceptability. The onset of rigor mortis was more rapid (P < 0.05) in breast meat from LAPS-stunned birds compared with ES-stunned birds, but no differences existed (P > 0.05) among stunning methods with respect to final pH at 24 h. As expected, breast meat that was deboned at 4 h required less shear force (P < 0.05) to cut through the breast than samples that were deboned at 0.75 h postmortem, but no differences existed between breast meat from LAPS or ES broilers that were deboned at the same time postmortem. However, when samples were marinated with 2% NaCl and 0.5% phosphate, there was no difference in Allo-Kramer shear force between ES 4 h and LAPS 4-h samples, but the ES 0.75-h samples had lower shear force values (P < 0.05) than the LAPS 0.75-h samples. On average, the LAPS 4-h treatment had greater overall acceptability ratings (P < 0.05) than other treatments, and the ES and LAPS 4-h treatments had more acceptable (P < 0.05) texture than the ES and LAPS 0.75-h treatments. Cluster analysis revealed that the 2 largest consumer groups liked all chicken breast fillet treatments, but a larger proportion of consumers liked the 4-h LAPS and ES treatments compared with the 0.75-h LAPS and ES treatments. In addition, consumers who rated baked chicken breast as at least moderately acceptable preferred (P < 0.05) the 4-h LAPS samples over the 4-h ES samples. The present study revealed that both the LAPS and ES systems can be successfully used in commercial poultry plants without detrimental breast fillet quality problems with respect to color, texture, and consumer acceptance.

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