Meat tenderness has long being recognized as the most important attribute of meat, greatly influencing consumer acceptability. After meat slaughtering, shortening of the muscle protein fibers causes the meat to become tough (“rigor mortis”). For meat to become enough tender to be sold to the final consumer, it has to be under chilling storage for a period ,between 7-90 days, resulting in high meat processing costs, along with high energy consumption.
A variety of chemical, physical and mechanical methods are currently available for tenderizing meat, although they have not fulfilled meat processors requirements in terms of production costs and modification of the meat or organoleptic properties. The most promising technique for meat tenderization is High Power Ultrasound. It significantly reduces the aging period, being a low-cost non-invasive technique, avoiding changes in the organoleptic properties of meat. However, commercially application of HPU for tenderization is not available since current studies have not taken into consideration the natural variation on muscle size, animal type, meat cuts and geometry.
UltraTender intends to develop an optimized process for beef meat tenderization by high power ultrasounds, covering a wide range of meat cuts with different tenderness grades, geometries and sizes. Our main objectives will be:
- To develop the most appropriate high power ultrasound protocol for each meat sample in order to provide a uniform tenderizing effect.
- To create a Prediction software tool with 80% reliability using Matlab to define the parameters for the selection of the ultrasound protocols for each meat cut.
Our optimized tenderization process will lead to a time reduction up to 80% of the whole tenderization process for a wide range of meat cuts and animal types. This will lead to 60% production costs reduction increasing profit margins of fresh meat products by 4.5€/Kg.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs