Evaluating Quality and Palatability Characteristics of Beef Subprimals Treated with Low-dose Irradiation
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This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of low-dose irradiation on beef quality and sensory attributes. Beef top rounds (n=10), bottom round flats (n=10), and knuckles (n=18) were collected from a commercial meat processing facility. Paired subprimals were randomly assigned to treated (irradiated) and control (non-irradiated) groups. The treated group was irradiated with a surface dose of 1-1.5 kGy. Following treatment, subprimals were fabricated into thirds and randomly assigned to one of three aging days (0, 14, or 21). After the aging period, subprimal pieces were trimmed, cut into 2.54 cm steaks, and the resulting trimmings were ground to produce 0.113 kg patties. Steaks and patties were randomly assigned to one of two shelf-life days (2 or 4). During retail display, L*, a*, and b* measurements were taken for raw steak and patty color (0, 2, and 4 day). Steaks and patties from all treatments were evaluated by a trained sensory panel for flavor, basic taste, mouthfeel, after-taste, and texture attributes. Steaks and patties were cooked on open-faced grills, and used for cooked color analysis. Samples from across treatments were used for TBARS analysis. Differences in raw steak and patty color were seen among samples. No differences were evident between cooked steak samples; however, cooked patty color differences were observed. Further, numerous palatability attributes were impacted by treatment. Additionally, differences in TBARS values were seen. These results suggest that if chilled subprimals or carcasses were treated with low-dose e-beam irradiation, quality and palatability characteristics could be negatively impacted.