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Implications of white striping and wooden breast abnormalities on quality traits of raw and marinated chicken meat

  • S. Mudalal (a1), M. Lorenzi (a1), F. Soglia (a1), C. Cavani (a1) and M. Petracci (a1)...


One of the consequences of intense genetic selection for growth of poultry is the recent appearance of abnormalities in chicken breast muscles, such as white striping (characterised by superficial white striations) and wooden breast (characterised by pale and bulged areas with substantial hardness). The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality traits of chicken fillets affected by white striping and wooden breast abnormalities. In two replications, 192 fillets were divided into the following four classes: normal (n=48; absence of any visual defects), white striping (n=48, presence of white striations), wooden breast (n=48; diffusely presence of hardened areas) and white striping/wooden breast (n=48; fillets affected by both abnormalities). Morphology, raw meat texture and technological properties were assessed in both unprocessed (pH, colour, drip loss, cooking loss and cooked meat shear force) and marinated meat (marinade uptake, purge loss, cooking loss and cooked meat shear force). Fillets affected by white striping, wooden breast or both abnormalities exhibited higher breast weights compared with normal fillets (305.5, 298.7, 318.3 and 244.7 g, respectively; P<0.001). Wooden breast, either alone or in combination with white striping, was associated with a significant (P<0.001) increase of fillet thickness in the caudal area and raw meat hardness compared with both normal and the white striping abnormality, for which there was no difference. Overall, the occurrence of the individual and combined white striping and wooden breast abnormalities resulted in substantial reduction in the quality of breast meat, although these abnormalities are associated with distinct characteristics. Wooden breast fillets showed lower marinade uptake and higher cooking losses than white-striped fillets for both unprocessed and marinated meats. On the other hand, white-striped fillets showed a moderate decline in marinade and cooking yield. Fillets affected by both abnormalities had the highest (P<0.001) ultimate pH values. In contrast, the effects on colour of raw and cooked meat, drip loss, purge loss and cooked meat shear force were negligible or relatively low and of little practical importance. Thus, the presence of white striping and wooden breast abnormalities impair not only breast meat appearance but also the quality of both raw and marinated meats mainly by reducing water holding/binding abilities.


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