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Improving Cull Cow Meat Quality Using Vacuum Impregnation

Leal-Ramos, Martha Y., Alarcón-Rojo, Alma D., Gutiérrez-Méndez, Néstor, Mújica-Paz, Hugo, Rodríguez-Almeida, Felipe, Quintero-Ramos, Armando
Foods 2018 v.7 no.5
atmospheric pressure, beef quality, cows, culling (animals), deformation, hydrodynamics, loins, loins (meat cut), mathematical models, meat, microstructure, porosity, scanning electron microscopy, sodium chloride
Boneless strip loins from mature cows (50 to 70 months of age) were vacuum impregnated (VI) with an isotonic solution (IS) of sodium chloride. This study sought to determine the vacuum impregnation and microstructural properties of meat from cull cows. The experiments were conducted by varying the pressure, p 1 (20.3, 71.1 kPa), and time, t 1 (0.5, 2.0, 4.0 h), of impregnation. After the VI step, the meat was kept for a time, t 2 (0.0, 0.5, 2.0, 4.0 h), in the IS under atmospheric pressure. The microstructural changes, impregnation, deformation, and porosity of the meat were measured in all the treatments. Impregnation and deformation levels in terms of volume fractions of the initial sample at the end of the vacuum step and the VI processes were calculated according to the mathematical model for deformation-relaxation and hydrodynamic mechanisms. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to study the microstructure of the vacuum-impregnated meat samples. Results showed that both the vacuum and atmospheric pressures generated a positive impregnation and deformation. The highest values of impregnation X (10.5%) and deformation &gamma; (9.3%) were obtained at p 1 of 71.1 kPa and t 1 of 4.0 h. The sample effective porosity (&epsilon; e) exhibited a significant interaction (p < 0.01) between p 1 &times; t 1 . The highest &epsilon; e (14.0%) was achieved at p 1 of 20.3 kPa and t 1 of 4.0 h, whereas the most extended distension of meat fibers (98 &mu;m) was observed at the highest levels of p<inf>1</inf>, t<inf>1</inf>, and t<inf>2</inf>. These results indicate that meat from mature cows can undergo a vacuum-wetting process successfully, with an IS of sodium chloride to improve its quality.