Investigation of pulsed electric field conditions at low field strength for the tenderisation of beef topside
Tenderness is the most critical eating quality trait of meat, and consequently, processing interventions for meat tenderisation have significant economic relevance. The objective of this study was to investigate pulsed electric field (PEF) conditions for the tenderisation of beef topside. The PEF settings included combinations of three field strengths (0.25, 0.50 and 1.00 kV/cm), two frequencies (20 and 100 Hz) and three treatment times (10, 30 and 50 ms). The effect of PEF on meat quality parameters (pH, drip loss, shear force, cook loss and colour) immediately after treatment and after storage (1 and 14 days at 4 °C) was evaluated. PEF did not affect meat tenderness after 1 day of chilled storage but resulted in a 5–10% reduction in the shear force in some cases (0.25–0.5 kV/cm) compared to the untreated control after 14 days of storage. Other quality traits (cook loss and colour) were not impaired. Thus, we concluded that PEF technology is a possible intervention to improve meat tenderness of beef topside after 2 weeks of storage.