Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 165-172

Meat Quality of Chicken Breast Subjected to Different Thawing Methods

Oliveira, M. RGubert, GRoman, S. SKempka, A. PPrestes, R. C

Freezing is one of the methods to preserve and guarantee the quality of meat until it reaches the consumer. Even though freezing is classified as a mild form of preservation, it causes meat changes resulting from the formation of ice crystals that subsequently affect the tenderness and functionality of meat. The aim of this study was to evaluate the physicochemical and structural characteristics of chicken half breast submitted to fast freezing (-36 °C for 2 hours) and thawed by five different methods (under refrigeration, in a microwave, in a oven with air circulation, placed in cold water, or at room temperature). After thawing, the following parameters were evaluated: moisture content, drip loss (syneresis), water activity (aw), and shear force. Samples were also histologically evaluated by light microscopy. The results indicated that, despite being submitted to fast freezing, thawing affected (p 0.05) most of the physicochemical and structural properties of the meat, except for aw. Thawing in cold water (packed in low-density polyethylene bags and placed in cold water at approximately 10 °C for 2 hours and 15 minutes) presented the best results due to lesser damage to the cell structure, as shown by the lower drip loss, higher moisture content, and greater tenderness of the samples compared to those thawed using the other methods. Histological examination showed that muscle fiber structural features and organization were maintained. Thawing at low temperatures seems to cause less damage to the meat structure and allows maintaining of its properties. It was concluded that the meat quality is not related only with the freezing method, but also with the method and conditions used in thawing.(AU)

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