KSEF RDE: Development of an optical backscatter sensor technology for monitoring and controlling meat emulsification during the chopping process

Grants and Contracts Details


Meat emulsions are finely chopped and cooked products composed of water, protein, fat, salt, and non-meat ingredients where meat proteins serve as the natural emulsifier. Before cooking, proteins must surround fat particles to allow proper fat emulsification. The chopping process is designed to reduce meat and fat particle sizes, which results in better protein extraction and fatwater holding capacity. Under-chopping results in minimal binding because fat particles are too large to yield a stable product. Over-chopping results in massive fat and water separation during cooking because fat particles are very small and their total surface rapidly increases. This yields an unstable product because more protein is required to emulsify the fat. The goal of this project is to develop an inline optical backscatter sensor technology for monitoring and controlling emulsification of comminuted meat products during the chopping process. This would allow selection of the optimum level of emulsification to maximize cooking yield, quality and consistency of the final product. The motivation for this research is the significant economical impact of emulsion breakdown in meat industry and the non-existence of any effective online technology for controlling emulsion stability. Light backscatter was selected for monitoring emulsification because experimental evidences support that cooking loses are correlated to optical parameters. Successful sensor development will require the: a) evaluation of different optical configurations to optimize the signal quality for measuring degree of emulsification; b) identification of optical parameters correlated to water-fat holding capacities; and c) development of an algorithm to predicts the chopping duration resulting in the optimum fat-water retention in the cooked product. Successful development of this unique inline sensor technology would have a great impact on industry worldwide in terms of processing efficiency and product quality. This proposed project would compliment the authors' program in sensor technology development for the food industry.
Effective start/end date1/1/0710/31/09


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $99,996.00


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