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Effect of white striping on turkey breast meat quality

  • F. Soglia (a1), G. Baldi (a1), L. Laghi (a1), S. Mudalal (a2), C. Cavani (a1) and M. Petracci (a1)...


In the past decades, the intense selection practices carried out in order to develop fast growing and high breast-yield turkey hybrids profoundly modified the muscle physiology leading to the development of growth-related alterations and muscular abnormalities. White striations of variable thickness have been particularly observed on the ventral surface of Pectoralis major muscle belonging from heavy male turkeys since several years. However, although the effects of white striping (WS) have been extensively studied on broilers, this condition was not considered as a main quality issue by both turkey producers and meat industry. Thus, this study aimed at evaluating whether the occurrence of WS in heavy male turkeys affects the quality traits and technological properties of meat to the same extent previously observed for broilers. In two replications, 72 Pectoralis major muscles were classified as: normal (NORM), moderate WS (MOD) and severe WS (SEV) cases. The whole muscle was weighed and cut in order to assess colour, ultimate pH, water holding (drip and cooking losses) and binding (marinade uptake) capacities, NMR relaxation properties, shear force as well as proximate composition of meat. The Pectoralis major muscles affected by WS (both moderate and severe cases) exhibited a one-fifth increased weight in comparison with their NORM counterpart. However, the occurrence of WS only partially affected the proximate composition of the meat. In detail, although moisture, collagen and protein contents did not differ among the groups, if compared with NORM, higher lipid levels were found in SEV muscles, whereas MOD had intermediate values. On the other hand, both MOD and SEV exhibited lower ash content. Despite these variations in proximate composition, both water holding and binding capacities of turkey breast meat were not affected by WS. Indeed, quality traits of raw (pH, colour, cooking losses and shear force) and marinated (uptake, cooking losses and shear force) meat as well as water distribution within the muscle tissue did not differ between NORM and WS cases. Overall, if compared with broilers, WS only marginally affected quality traits of turkey breast meat. It might thus be hypothesised a diverse specie-specific physiological response to the pressure in muscle tissue induced by the selection in turkeys that, although analogously led to the occurrence of WS, results in limited effects on meat quality.


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