Imaging technology quickly finds wooden-breast tissue
Imaging-based technologies can rapidly and non-destructively detect the presence and severity of a condition known as wooden breast (WB) in boneless, skinless broiler breast fillets, according to research conducted by Brian Bowker, USDA-ARS at the Russell Research Center in Athens, Georgia.
Current evaluation relies on tactile handling to sort and score WB in the breast product. Further complicating WB detection, the hardness of WB fillets has been reported to decrease with short-term storage.
Utilizing optical coherence tomography (OCT), Bowker was able to differentiate between the muscle surface characteristics of normal and WB fillets.
In addition, hyperspectral imaging analysis could clearly distinguish between fat, muscle and connective tissue on the surface of breast fillets and assess their relative quantities.
By combining imaging and experimental classification models, researchers could categorize breast fillets according to their WB condition with greater than 95% accuracy. It was also found that 3D imaging could be used to find the geometric and shape attributes of fillets which can be modeled to categorize WB fillets with 90-95% accuracy.
The increasing occurrence of WB is an emerging problem in poultry meat quality. Breast fillets with WB are uncharacteristically hard or rigid resulting in decreased fresh meat quality, inferior yield, diminished nutritional quality and reduced consumer acceptance.