University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Tenderness in boneless poultry breast meat is of utmost importance to consumers. However, there is currently no nondestructive method to predict poultry breast meat tenderness. Textural properties of poultry breast meat were predicted by near-infrared reflectance (NIR) spectroscopy. Spectra were collected on 390 poultry Pectoralis major muscles from broiler carcasses to examine the correlation between NIR spectroscopy and the Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear (MORS) test. Two instrumental parameters (maximum shear force and total shear energy) were used as estimates of meat tenderness. Calibration (R2 cal) and validation (r2 val) coefficients of determination were used for predicting instrumental measurements using the reflectance, and its first and second derivatives. The model using second derivative reflectance data yielded the best results for all samples. Regressions preformed on these samples produced R2 cal values ranging from 0.70 to 0.75 and r2 val values ranging from 0.59 to 0.65 for maximum shear force and total shear energy, demonstrating the potential of NIR to predict poultry breast meat tenderness. These findings could have a practical importance as this method could qualify NIR for an online assessment to sort poultry breast meat according to tenderness levels.