The water-holding capacity (WHC) of post-mortem porcine musculature is an important quality trait, and it is desirable for the industry to assess its variations,for purposes of evaluating and processing pork products. There are several procedures to accurately determine WHC, but most are either too slow, too expensive or are impractical for commercial application. Since WHC is also important when examining the characteristics of soil, scientists routinely use an instrument called a tensiometer for this measurement. Therefore, we explored the potential application of this technique for assessing WHC in post-rigor pork muscle. The cost, potential speed and invasive application of the tensiometer in muscle were attractive characteristics. A sample (29) of pork loins, representing considerable variation in WHC were used to test the applicability of a commercial tensiometer. When tensiometer measurements were compared to 48 h drip loss, the results indicated the tensiometer could accurately detect the variations in free fluids expressed in muscle and that the procedure could be applied quickly and invasively without altering the commercial value of the product. However, particles (primarily protein and fat) in the muscle fluid became imbedded in the pores of the tensiometer ceramic tip, thus impairing the repeated use of the instrument. A plastic filter was developed to prevent clogging, but it could not be molded adequately to permit rapid insertion and removal for on-line measurements of WHC. Therefore, despite the various desirable features of the tensiometer, it failed to meet some requirements considered essential for further testing as a potential commercial, on-line procedure. First, the clogging problem must be resolved The study also indicated that the filter paper test would be more appropriate than the tensiometer for use in field tests to predict WHC when limited numbers of samples were to be tested.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science