Food and Nutrition

Functional Modifications in Meat

Functional modifications in meat and meat products

Principal components of meat, besides water, are proteins and fats, with a substantial contribution of vitamins and minerals of a high degree of bioavailability.

Both meat and its associated products can be modified by adding ingredients considered beneficial for health or by eliminating or reducing components that are considered harmful.

Consumers have become better informed about nutrition and want to improve their safety in potential industrial applications to learn more about the medical benefits of food.

Food manufacturers face the challenge of providing nutritious food, while at the same time, ensuring that the product has an appealing taste, texture and appearance.

Thus, producers of meat products have modified their formulas/recipes to meet the changing demands of the marketplace by addition of certain components that add functional properties to meat products or by reduction of certain ingredients.

Methods of Functional modifications in meat and meat products includes:

  1. Fat Reduction
  2. Sodium Chloride control
  3. Addition of Antioxidants


 Fig: Methods of Functional Modification in Meat and Meat products


Sodium Chloride Control

There are several approaches for reducing the sodium content in processed meat. These are

  1. Lowering of the level of sodium chloride added
  2. Replacement of all or part of NaCl with other chloride salts (KCl, CaCl2and MgCl2).
  3. Replacement of the sodium chloride with non-chloride salts, such as phosphates, or with new processing techniques or process modifications and
  4. Combinations of any of the above approaches.


Addition of Antioxidants

Certain bioactive components like, polyunsaturated fatty acids, use of lecithin, various pre and probiotics, isoflavones, saponins, phytosterols, phytates, proteinase inhibitors, oligosaccharides and powdered brewer’s yeast can be added in the meat products to make them healthier.


Fat Reduction

Different methods of fat reduction in meat products trimming of external and intermuscular fat, genetic and dietary modification and fat replacements or substitutes.

Fat replacements or substitutes are ingredients that contribute a minimum of calories to formulated meats and do not dramatically alter flavor, juiciness, mouthfeel, viscosity or other organoleptic and processing properties.

Most of the substitutes used for partial replacement of the fat can be categorized as:

  1. Leaner meats.
  2. Added water.
  3. Protein based substitutes (blood plasma, egg proteins, milk caseinates, non-fat dry milk, oat bran, soy proteins, whey proteins, surimi, vital wheat gluten, wheat proteins).
  4. Carbohydrate-based substitutes (fibres, cellulose, starches, maltodextrins, dextrins, hydrocolloids or gum).
  5. Synthetic compounds.


Modification of the fatty acid and cholesterol levels in meat

Addition of vegetable oils to meat products

  • The addition of olive oil to sausages was more effective than using vacuum-storing methods in avoiding lipid oxidation during storage and also increased the monounsaturated fatty acids fraction (MUFA)
  • The selection of breeds and genetic lines within breeds, changes in animal feeding practices, including some feed additives (probiotics, antibiotics, and so forth), and intervention in animal metabolism are the main tools used to achieve a reduction in carcass fat content.

 Addition of soy

  • Soy protein isolate has been added in low-fat bologna.
  • Incorporated as fat replacer without any detrimental physicochemical and textural characteristics being noted in the product, except for color values.

 Addition of natural extracts with antioxidant properties

  • The addition of tea catechins to cooked red meat and poultry was studied by Tang and others (2001)
  • They found that addition at 300 mg/kg minced muscle significantly inhibited the pro-oxidative effect of NaCl and controlled lipid oxidation in cooked muscle patties.
  • Sodium chloride control- Although meat as such is relatively poor in sodium, containing only 50 to 90 mg of sodium per 100 g, the sodium content of meat derivatives is much higher because of the salt content, which may reach 2% in heat-treated products and as much as 6% in uncooked cured products, in which drying (loss of moisture) increases the proportion even further.

 Addition of vegetal products

  • The use of wheat protein as a meat alternative is a relatively recent development.
  • Wheat protein is essentially made from gluten that has been processed and extruded to resemble the texture of meat.

 Addition of fish oils

  • Salchichon is made using back-fat and meat enriched in polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids and -tocopherol, concludeing that it is possible to manufacture dry-fermented sausages enriched in n-3 PUFAs without adverse effects on its composition, lipid stability, textural, and sensory properties.

 Addition of Fiber

  • Increase the cooking yield of meat products due to its water-binding and fat binding properties and to improve texture.
  • Water-absorption capacity of oat fiber such as it could potentially benefit products such as fat-free frankfurters and low-fat bologna.
  • The addition of Fructo oligosaccharides (FOS) did not affect the pH, aw or weight losses because the presence of soluble dietary fiber (SDF) leads to a compact gel structure.

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