A preliminary study into the use of ‘heat pipes’ to prevent high rigor temperature in beef carcasses by increasing cooling rate
Jacob, R.H., Beatty, D.T. and Warner, R.D. (2014) A preliminary study into the use of ‘heat pipes’ to prevent high rigor temperature in beef carcasses by increasing cooling rate. Animal Production Science, 54 (4). pp. 504-509.
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Three experiments were conducted to investigate the use of a custom-made heat pipe to reduce muscle temperature in beef carcasses during the initial part of the refrigeration period post slaughter. The effects of muscle depth (Experiment 1) and radial distance from a heat pipe (Experiment 2) were investigated initially. Then the use of multiple heat pipes was compared with no heat pipes for the loin and hind leg regions of a carcass (Experiment 3). All three experiments were conducted at a commercial beef abattoir in Western Australia. Without heat pipes, the time taken for the temperature to fall to 35°C in the hind leg was 10, 90 and 300 min for depths of 25, 50 and 100 mm from the surface, respectively. Temperature increased with radial distance from a heat pipe and the relative differences in temperature between different positions increased with time. Temperatures 110 min after the commencement of cooling were 35.7, 36.8 and 38.3°C for 20, 40 and 80 mm from the heat pipe, compared with 39.8°C without the pipe. The loin cooled faster than the rump, which cooled faster than the leg. Heat pipes increased the rate of temperature loss in the leg but not the loin. The time taken for the leg temperature to reach 35°C, measured at a depth of 100 mm, reduced from 150 to 76 min. These experiments confirm that heat pipes containing methanol could be used to increase the rate of heat loss from leg muscles in beef carcasses. Further work is required to determine if the magnitude of these increases in cooling rate would improve eating quality for large carcasses.
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