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Alternating frequency to increase the response to stimulation from medium voltage electrical stimulation and the effect on objective meat quality

Pearce, K.L., Hopkins, D.L., Williams, A., Jacob, R.H., Pethick, D.W., Phillips, J.K.
Meat science 2009 v.81 no.1 pp. 188-195
electrical treatment, meat quality, lamb meat, slaughter, color, meat aging, drip loss, pH, lambs, sensory properties, cooling, chilling injury
The use of alternating frequencies during stimulation can increase stimulation response of a medium voltage electrical stimulation unit (MVS) by increasing the rate of pH decline. Various combinations of frequency modulation were tested in experiment 1 to determine the treatment resulting in the greatest stimulation response; the lowest initial pH, fastest rate of pH decline, highest temperature at pH 6 and the highest number of carcasses with a pH of 6 by 25 oC and the treatment achieving the highest number of carcasses in the pH temp window (temperature at pH 6 between 18-25 oC). The objective meat quality of these treatments compared to an unstimulated treatment was tested in experiment 2. Modulating the frequency (Hz) across the 6 segmented electrodes of the MVS by 10, 15, 25, 10, 15, 25Hz (Treatment 6, using a pulse width: 2.5ms, current: 1A) resulted in the greatest stimulation response. This treatment may be suitable for abattoirs that hot bone sheepmeat and require fast pH declines to ensure minimal cold shortening of meat. However, this treatment did not result in the tenderer meat despite the higher stimulation response. This treatment may have induced a greater number of contractions overall and therefore a greater pH decline response but resulted in less myofibrillar disruption compared to the other treatments due to a concomitant decreased force of contraction thus reducing potential tenderisation. Maintaining a constant frequency of 15Hz (Treatment 1; pulse width: 2.5ms, current: 1A) resulted in a higher number of carcasses in the pH temp window required (temperature at pH 6 between 18-25 oC) in part A (P < 0.05) and in addition to the higher tenderness levels this treatment may be more appropriate to satisfy the overall demands of abattoirs using these systems. This paper has also demonstrated electrical stimulation results in tenderer meat compared to unstimulated meat even after 30d of ageing (2.53±0.4 compared to 2.85±0.1 for the loin (M. longissimus thoracis et lumborum) (P < 0.01) possibly due to a protective benefit of stimulation on meat tenderness. Overall, no detrimental effects of modulating frequency were observed on drip loss or retail colour display despite a greater rate of colour change observed with the modulated frequency treatment and the longer aged product.