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Quantifying the rate of pH and temperature decline in lamb carcasses using medium voltage electrical stimulation in an Australian abattoir

Pearce, K.L., Hopkins, D.L., Toohey, E., Pethick, D.W. and Richards, I. (2006) Quantifying the rate of pH and temperature decline in lamb carcasses using medium voltage electrical stimulation in an Australian abattoir. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 46 (7). pp. 869-874.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA05366
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Abstract

The current study evaluated the effectiveness of a medium voltage post-dressing electrical stimulation unit at different current and pulse width settings on pH decline. The objective was to optimise these settings to ensure that a high proportion of carcasses would reach pH 6.0 when the carcass was between 18–25°C according to the guidelines set by the Australian Sheep Meat Eating Quality (SMEQ) program. In the first experiment, 3 different current (400, 700 and 1000 mA) and pulse width (1, 2.5 and 5 ms) settings plus a control (0 mA and 0 ms) were applied to carcasses for 34 s at a frequency of 15 Hz with 7 sheep per treatment over 3 consignments (n = 210 carcasses). The pH–temperature decline was evaluated for all carcasses. Based on the SMEQ guidelines, 43% of stimulated carcasses reached a pH of 6.0 between a carcass temperature of 18–25°C, compared with 14% of unstimulated controls. Furthermore, 21% of carcasses reached a pH of 6.0 before the carcass temperature reached 25°C and 36% did not reach a pH of 6.0 by the time the carcass was 18°C. Alternatively, under the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) pH–temperature guidelines, carcasses should reach pH 6.0 between 12 and 35°C; 87% of stimulated carcasses reached a pH of 6.0 between 12–35°C, compared with 39% of unstimulated controls. One percent of carcasses reached a pH of 6.0 before the carcass temperature reached 35°C and 12% did not reach a pH of 6.0 by a carcass temperature by the time the carcass was 12°C. The abattoir in this study had a very fast chilling regime which resulted in carcasses reaching pH 6.0 at low temperatures and accounted for the low number of carcasses reaching a pH of 6.0 between 18–25°C. There was no effect of different current and pulse widths on the rate of decline, temperature at pH 6.0 or initial pH, which was attributed to the late application of electrical stimulation postmortem when muscle contraction is dependant on direct muscle stimulation. The combination of 2.5 ms and 1000 mA was the best performing treatment with respect to both SMEQ and MSA guidelines and the number of carcasses reaching the pH–temperature window. This treatment had the highest percentage of carcasses reaching the SMEQ window (60%) and MSA window (97%). Furthermore, it resulted in the lowest number of carcasses not reaching pH 6.0 by a carcass temperature of either 12 or 18°C, making it the most suitable to an abattoir with a fast chilling regime. Modulation and frequency manipulation of the segmented electrodes were assessed with the frequency manipulation resulting in the greatest stimulation response. Further work is needed to understand the effect of manipulating the frequency on the system overall or of the individual modules as well as changing the stimulation time.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: 2006 CSIRO
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/11988
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