Effects of Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) processing on physicochemical and flavour characteristics of fresh and frozen-thawed beef muscles
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PEF treatment is a new non-thermal food processing technique, which can improve food quality and extend shelf-life. This study investigated the effects of pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment on the sensory attributes, physicochemical properties and flavour of beef. Two types of beef muscles, biceps femoris (BF) and semitendinosus (ST) either as fresh or as frozen-thawed muscles were used. The muscles were treated at electric field strength of 0.8-1.1 kV/cm, pulse width of 20 μs, frequency of 50 Hz and energy of 130 kJ/kg. Temporal dominance of sensations (TDS) analysis were carried out to determine the temporal changes in sensory attributes of PEF treated beef samples. Oxidized and brothy were the dominant sensory attributes during mastication. The Canonical Variate Analysis (CVA) results showed that the “oxidized” sensory attribute was positively affected by both storage and PEF processing. PEF processing enhanced the lipid oxidation of both fresh and frozen-thawed beef samples. Values above 0.5 are considered critical since they indicate a level of lipid oxidation products, which produce a rancid odour and taste that can be detected by consumers. Values of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in our study with beef muscles before and after PEF treatment at 0 and 7 days storage was well below 0.5. In general fatty acids decreased with PEF processing. The oxidation of lipid and fatty acids is an important contributor of cooked beef flavour. Ten common volatile compounds found in beef were investigated in this study. PEF processed samples stored for 7 days were associated with more flavour compounds.