Ultrasound Application to Improve Meat Quality

High-intensity ultrasound offers an alternative to traditional methods of food preservation and is regarded as a green, versatile, popular, and promising emerging technology. Ultrasound generates acoustic cavitation in a liquid medium, developing physical forces that are considered the main mechanism responsible for the observed changes in exposed materials. In meat, ultrasound has been successfully used to improve processes such as mass transfer and marination, tenderization of meat ,and inactivation of microorganisms. It is also an alternative to traditional meat aging methods for improving the quality properties of meat. Moreover, the combination of ultrasonic energy with a sanitizing agent can improve the effect of microbial reduction in foods. This review describes recent potential applications of ultrasound in meat systems, as well as physical and chemical effects of ultrasound treatments on the conservation and modification of processed meat foods.

Evolution of food processes is driven by changes in consumer preferences and the need to produce safe and high-quality foods. Nonthermal or intermediate technologies have great potential to achieve the characteristics desired by both the industry and consumers, especially regarding the desire to avoid altering the flavor or nutritional content during production. These technologies, which include the use of high pressure, electrical pulses, microfiltration, and ultrasonication, are especially designed for economy, simplicity, and energy efficiency. Ultrasound is an acoustic energy , and therefore, it is a nonionizing, noninvasive, and nonpolluting form of mechanical energy. These properties lead to a wide range of applications in the food industry. It is considered an emerging method with a great potential to control, improve, and accelerate processes without damaging the quality of food and other products . A low-power and high-frequency method is used to monitor the composition and physicochemical properties of food components and products during processing. Therefore, it contributes to control the properties that improve food quality. In recent years, research studies have been focused on assessing the effects of ultrasound on processes including mass transfer or marinating, meat tenderizing, crystallization, freezing, drying, degassing, filtration, foam production and reduction, emulsification, homogenization, and inactivation of microorganisms and enzymes . Ultrasound has also been employed to optimize physicochemical characteristics, preparation processes for meat products, microbiological content, and sensory characteristics in fresh and processed meat . Although ultrasound waves have been used to improve a wide variety of characteristics for a variety of matrices and processes, the appropriate conditions for scaling ultrasonic methods up to industrial levels have been established for a relatively small number of processes .

As emphasized by Chemat et al. a key goal of ultrasound research is to study and analyze both desirable and undesirable degradation phenomena in foods resulting from ultrasonic treatment (e.g., ultrasonic processing may affect the texture and chemical composition of foods). For this reason, many research questions in the meat sector are yet to be elucidated. Although multiple reports have been published, still inconsistent results have been reported, maybe because of the specific nature of meat tissues and various factors of ultrasound application possibly involved in, affecting food properties. This review aims to identify the effect of ultrasound on the major quality characteristics of fresh meat. We believe the results will help establish a methodology to enable the scaling-up of ultrasonic technology to the industrial level.

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Alma D. Alarcon-Rojo, Esmeralda Peña-González, Iván García-
Galicia, Luis Carrillo-López, Mariana Huerta-Jiménez, Raúl Reyes-
Villagrana and Hector Janacua-Vidales (November 5th 2018). Ultrasound Application to Improve Meat Quality, Descriptive Food Science, Antonio Valero Díaz and Rosa María García-Gimeno, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.77973. Available from: Ultrasound Application to Improve Meat Quality | IntechOpen