Research presented at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting, held in July in St. Louis, is of potential value to producers of processed poultry products. The research ranged from factors affecting yield, ingredient effects on marination performance and product quality, to lipid oxidation and product defects.

Consumer issues with phosphates  

The use of “clean labels” is of importance in the food industry, including in poultry products. Consumers want to know and understand what ingredients are used in the products they purchase. They also want natural products with all-natural ingredients.

While phosphates are very functional in meat products, the term, “phosphate,” sometimes has negative connotations. To address natural and clean label trends, processors are interested in phosphate replacers that are natural and easy to understand for consumers. The challenge is to find ingredients that have equivalent functionality as phosphates for helping with the yield and eating quality of products.

Phosphate replacer  

G. Casco of Texas A&M University presented research related to marinades containing phosphate replacers. The research evaluated water- and oil-based marinades including phosphate or a phosphate replacer (SavorPhos AF200; Formtech Solutions Inc.). Water-based marinades consisted of water, salt (0.7% final concentration) and phosphate (0.4%) or SavorPhos-200 (0.5%). Oil-based marinades consisted of water, canola oil (3%), salt (0.7%) and phosphate (0.4%) or SavorPhos-200 (0.5%). Two commercial phosphates were used based on whether the marinade was water or oil based, as one phosphate had better emulsification properties.

Marinades were injected into whole carcasses, WOGs, at 20% pickup, simulating a rotisserie product, and into boneless, skinless breasts at 20% pickup. The breasts were tumbled following injection. Results from the rotisserie product experiment showed that using the SavorPhos in a water-based marinade resulted in better marinade retention through 24 hours compared to using the phosphate marinade. For example, at 24 hours, the WOGs still had nearly 15% pickup when marinated with SavorPhos, compared to approximately 11% when marinated with a phosphate marinade.

Cooked products  

Cook losses did not differ when using water-based marinades. Results from the oil-based marinades showed similar 24-hour marinade retention for the oil-based SavorPhos and oil-based phosphate marinades. However, cook loss for WOGs marinated with the oil-based marinade using SavorPhos was significantly lower than the WOGs marinated with the oil-based phosphate marinade. The results indicate that using the SavorPhos in marinades, with an oil or water base, for WOGs resulted in equivalent or better performance compared to phosphate marinades.

Boneless breast fillets  

Results from the boneless, skinless breast fillet experiment showed similar results. Using the water-based marinade with SavorPhos, cook losses were significantly improved (lowered) compared to using the marinade with phosphate. Retention was not affected by the different water-based marinades. When evaluating the oil-based marinades, there was no difference in cook loss between the fillets marinated with SavorPhos or the phosphate. Because the pickup was higher in the fillets using SavorPhos, the fact that there was no difference in cook loss is a positive result.

Performance with respect to yield, color, texture and sensory analysis was also conducted on fillets marinated with the marinades. There were no differences in color due to the marinade used. Fillets marinated with SavorPhos (either water or oil) had lower shear force values compared to fillets marinated with phosphate indicating that fillets were more tender. Sensory results showed no differences between breast fillets marinated with SavorPhos and fillets marinated with phosphate.

Yield, quality unaffected with phosphate replacer  

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Results of this study by Casco and C.Z. Alvarado suggest that SavorPhos AF200 can be used as a phosphate replacer in natural marinades for whole-bird and boneless breast fillet type products without negatively affecting yield or quality. In some cases, yield and/or quality was improved with the use of this phosphate replacer. This ingredient can be advantageous to the processor because it is natural and can be labeled as citrus flour and natural flavor.

The research by G. Casco and C.Z. Alvarado was titled, “Yield improvements in water and oil-based marinades with a natural-non-phosphate blend.” It appeared in 2011 in Poultry Science, 90 (E-Suppl.1):334 (Abstr.).

Comparing dietary and meat-added antioxidants  

Lipid oxidation is a concern for the meat industry because it can affect product quality, especially in further processed products that are cooked (available in ready-to-eat, or re-heat, form). Flavor can be affected a great deal by lipid oxidation, which can create negative eating experiences for the consumer. C. Narciso-Gaytan presented research that evaluated lipid oxidation stability of cooked chicken meat using dietary and meat-added antioxidants.

Using dietary antioxidants can potentially be more effective because the antioxidant is physiologically incorporated into the muscle tissue. Use of dietary antioxidants can also have some labeling advantages because they are not required to be added on food labels.

Meat-added antioxidants, on the other hand, can have advantages either by directly affecting the meat or being able to add varying amounts to the meat to some degree. However, labeling can be an issue as any antioxidant that is directly added would have to be added to the ingredient statement.

Antioxidants compared  

Researchers used low (10 mg/kg of feed; National Research Council recommendation) and high levels (100 mg/kg of feed) of vitamin E or oregano essential oil (100 mg/kg of feed) in the basal corn-soybean diets of broilers grown to six weeks of age. Honey (3%) or BHT (0.02%) was added to the ground breast meat from broilers fed the lower level of vitamin E (10 mg/kg of feed). Meat was ground and patties were formed. Patties were cooked to 74 C and stored over a nine-day period.

Results show that the low level of vitamin E had higher levels of oxidation (higher MDA, or malonaldehyde mg/kg) compared to the other treatments combined. However, there were no differences between dietary supplements (high level of vitamin E and oregano) and meat-added antioxidants (honey and BHT) with regard to oxidation. Furthermore, high levels of vitamin E had better antioxidant properties than using oregano at the same level, as indicated by lower MDA values. In the meat-added antioxidants, honey had better antioxidant properties than BHT, as indicated by lower MDA values.

Differences in lipid oxidation  

Results showed that low levels of vitamin E in the diet, commonly practiced in the industry (NRC recommendation), resulted in the highest lipid oxidation. All other treatments, dietary and meat-added, had better antioxidant properties resulting in less lipid oxidation. In the meat-added antioxidants, the natural ingredient, honey, had better antioxidant properties than the synthetic BHT. Therefore, honey could be used as a natural antioxidant.

The research by F. Avila-Ramos, C. Narciso-Gaytan, A. Pro-Martinez, E. Sosa-Montes, J. M. Cuca-Garcia, C.M. Becerril-Perez, and J.L. Figueroa-Velasco was titled, “Lipid oxidation stability of cooked chicken meat using dietary supplemented and meat-added antioxidants.” It appeared in 2011 in Poultry Science, 90 (E-Suppl.1):331 (Abstr.).