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Effects of protein modification on textural properties and water holding capacity of heat induced turkey breast meat gels



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The main objectives of this research were to examine effects of protein modification (protein cleavage and crosslinking) on turkey meat gelation and to evaluate textural properties and water holding capacity of meat gels prepared from normal and PSE (pale, soft, exudative) turkey breast meat.First, the effect of protein degradation on turkey breast meat gelation was studied. To create different extent of proteolysis in the meat, á-chymotrypsin (EC was added to normal and PSE meat batters at 0, 2.5, 5 and 10 ppm levels. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of cooked meat gels showed progressive protein hydrolysis with increasing enzyme level. Texture profile analysis and torsional analysis of the cooked meat gels showed an incremental deterioration in texture with increasing enzyme level. This inferior texture caused by proteolysis was similar to that observed in the gels made from PSE turkey meat alone. Pearson correlation coefficients indicated gel textural properties and expressible moisture were highly correlated to the degree of proteolysis, especially to that of myosin heavy chain (p < 0.001).The second study focused on modifying protein size to improve meat gelation, especially PSE meat gelation. Transglutaminase (TGase, EC was chosen due to its ability to catalyze crosslinking of proteins. Pea protein isolate, an alternative to soy protein, was also evaluated as a meat protein extender. Textural profile and torsional gelometry analyses of the cooked meat gels showed TGase alone significantly (p < 0.05) increased gel texture, especially for those made from PSE meat. However, cook yield of the meat gels was compromised possibly due to steric effects. Addition of pea protein isolate alone improved cook yield and gel texture, especially for the gels made from PSE meat. The combination of TGase and pea protein produced the strongest meat gels, while maintaining a similar cook yield to the control. SDS-PAGE showed the disappearance of several protein bands contributed from the meat or pea protein with TGase addition, indicating that these likely were crosslinked and too large to enter the gel. Dynamic rheological analysis revealed TGase altered the viscoelastic properties of the meat or meat-pea protein mixtures and produced more elastic gels on cooling.This research indicated proteolysis had a dramatic impact on textural properties of turkey breast meat gels. Crosslinking of proteins catalyzed by TGase significantly improved gel texture, especially for the gels made from PSE meat. However, TGase-assisted crosslinking of proteins resulted in greater cooking losses unless an extender/adjunct such as pea protein was added.



PSE, meat gel, protein crosslinking, protein degradation, water holding capacity, textural property



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Applied Microbiology and Food Science


Applied Microbiology and Food Science


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