Meat quality evaluation of minimally aged broiler breast fillets from five commercial genetic strains

J. M. Mehaffey, S. P. Pradhan, J. F. Meullenet, J. L. Emmert, S. R. McKee, C. M. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A total of 1,040 birds from 5 common commercial genetic broiler strains were raised and processed to analyze the effect of strain and deboning time on meat quality. The birds were processed at either 6 or 7 wk of age in 4 replications each. Carcasses were deboned at either 2 or 4 h postmortem (PM; n = 52 birds per treatment). Carcass and breast weights were measured on each bird to calculate breast yield. Muscle pH was measured at time of deboning. Fillets deboned at 4 h PM were measured for length, width, and height to evaluate footprint analysis. At 24 h PM, fillets were weighed to calculate drip loss, and color (L*) was also measured. The fillets were then cooked to 76°C, and cook loss was calculated. Fillets were then subjected to shear analysis using the Meullenet-Owens razor shear method where shear energy (N·mm) was calculated to evaluate tenderness. The strains in this study were chosen for differences in yield; therefore, as expected, breast yield was significantly different among strains. Variation in meat quality attributes existed among strains deboned at 2 h PM, but there was no consistent relationship between meat quality and breast yield. However, at 4 h PM, fewer differences among strains existed in meat quality characteristics (tenderness, water holding capacity, and pH). As expected, deboning at 2 h PM resulted in higher shear energy, higher muscle pH, and lower L* value compared with deboning at 4 h PM in all but one strain. However, water-holding capacity was not affected by deboning time at either age interval. Footprint analysis showed that most differences among strains were in heights measured at the fillet midpoint and caudal end. These results suggest that early deboning may affect meat quality of broiler strains differently, resulting in greater variation within the industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-908
Number of pages7
JournalPoultry science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Broiler breast
  • Fillet dimension
  • Strain
  • Tenderness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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