Physical and chemical characteristics of meat from broilers raised in 4 different rearing systems, stored under freezing for up to 12 months

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Abstract

This study evaluated the effects of freezing (-18°C) for 12 mo on attributes related to the texture of breast, drumstick, and thigh from broilers raised in 4 different rearing systems. Five-hundred carcasses of male broilers raised in 4 rearing systems (Antibiotic-free, Cobb 500, n = 125; Free-range, Hubbard ISA, n = 125; Conventional, Cobb 500, n = 125; Organic, Cobb 500, n = 125) were divided into breast, drumstick, and thigh and stored under freezing (-18°C) for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Breast, drumstick, and thigh meat from broilers raised in all studied rearing systems showed reduction (P < 0.001) of water-holding capacity (WHC) during freezing for up 12 months. It was observed an increase (P < 0.001) of cooking loss in breast samples from antibiotic-free, conventional, and organic broilers, and in thigh samples from broilers raised in all rearing systems studied. Breast meat from alternative broilers showed an increase in shear force values, while breast meat from conventional broilers became tenderer during the freezing storage. In general, alternative broilers had harder thigh meat than conventional broilers. A reduction (P < 0.001) in myofibrillar fragmentation index and total collagen concentration was verified in breast, drumstick, and thigh samples throughout the experiment. The freezing for up to 12 mo affects characteristics related to the succulence of chicken meat. Freezing chicken meat cuts for long periods, regardless of the rearing system, may interfere with the meat texture during preparation and consumption and, consequently, influence the consumer decision in a next purchase.

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