Effect of high pressure processing on raw pork microstructure and water holding capacity
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High pressure processing (HPP) is widely used as an alternative to thermal food preservation technologies, including processed meats treatment. This technology affects food texture and water-holding capacity, which may have beneficial effect on product yield. After thermal treatment, meat partially releases water together with water-soluble proteins, which is concerned as a loss. It is very important not only because of changes in taste properties, but also economic aspects such as reduced final product weight. The aim of the study was to evaluate changes in the meat microstructure and water-holding capacity upon high pressure treatment. Pork samples were treated at various pressures and holding times, namely, 300 and 600 MPa with a 1 and 15 minutes holding time at each pressure. Untreated sample was regarded as a control. Microstructure of pork meat was evaluated after the paraffination of the samples. Fibre cross section area and space between fibres were measured and reported. Water-holding capacity was measured by centrifugation of meat samples over filter and calculating released amount of juice. Results indicated that fibre size did not change significantly after treatment at 300–600 MPa pressure comparing to the control sample – untreated meat. However, high pressure can affect hydrophobic properties of myofibrillar protein. The experimental results showed that waterholding capacity increases with the high pressure treatment. It is an important issue in meat processing industry, because HPP treatment allows reducing the water loss in fresh pork.