How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Texture Analysis in action: the Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear Blade

Chicken tenderness testing using the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserTests using the MEULLENET-OWENS RAZOR SHEAR BLADE (A/MORS†) are conducted on whole intact poultry fillets. This minimises the experimental errors attributable to sample preparations, shortens sample preparation time and leads to a simpler testing solution. 

This method will thereby provide advantages over existing poultry breast meat tenderness methods as it could significantly save labour, time and expertise to implement for routine quality control.

Chicken breast tenderness using the MORS blade
Measurement of chicken breast tenderness
using the MORS blade

Measured forces are also substantially lower than those produced with a Kramer Shear test, thereby allowing testing on a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser. 

†This attachment is a Community Registered Design.

More information on this fixture

The Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear Blade has been hailed as the quickest, most accurate and simplest destructive tool for measuring poultry tenderness – an attribute critical to consumer acceptance – which has historically been assessed using costly and time-consuming sensory evaluation.

The Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear method uses an extremely sharp craft knife blade of defined dimensions, attached to a TA.XTplus texture analyser, to conduct a cutting / shearing test. Because the blade is narrow and penetrates to only 20mm, the MORS test makes only a small incision into the sample, causing far less damage to it than traditional instrumental or human cutting tests. Repeatability is also optimised because the blade can be removed and replaced regularly – or even after every test – to ensure edge sharpness.

Trials of the blade show it can perform 60 measurements per hour – double the number that can be achieved with an Allo-Kramer shear test, one of the better-known instrumental poultry testing methods. Both the Allo-Kramer multiple blade compression system and Warner-Bratzler shear blades are widely used for evaluating poultry tenderness and have become industry-standard testing methods. However, it has been reported their results are significantly affected by sample dimensions – a concern eliminated by the use of the MORS blade.

The new system claims to exhibit a higher correlation with human sensory test results while testing just as reliably as, but faster than, other instrumental methods. Tests using the MORS blade are conducted on whole intact fillets, which minimises experimental errors attributable to sample preparation, shortens sample preparation time and leads to a simpler testing solution. This can make significant savings in the labour, time and expertise needed to implement routine quality control in the poultry industry.

In the tests, razor blade shear energy (N*mm) is calculated as the area under the force deformation curve from the beginning to the end of the test. Maximum shear force (N) is also recorded. Both parameters are used as instrumental indicators of meat tenderness. Results show four or more shears per fillet (in predetermined locations) will provide a reliable estimate of poultry tenderness.

The Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear blade and test method are a result of research carried out at the University of Arkansas by Dr Jean-François Meullenet and Professor Casey Owens.

We can design and manufacture probes or fixtures for the TA.XTplus texture analyser that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can also prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

For more information on how to measure texture, please visit the Texture Analysis Properties section on our website.

TA.XTplus texture analyser with bloom jar The
TA.XTplus texture analyser is part of a family of texture analysis instruments and equipment from Stable Micro Systems. An extensive portfolio of specialist attachments is available to measure and analyse the textural properties of a huge range of food products. Our technical experts can also custom design instrument fixtures according to individual specifications.

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