Researchers from South Ural State University and colleagues from Moscow have developed a unique and ecological method of processing brine with ultrasound for meat processing companies, making it possible to ensure the high quality of meat products without the use of harmful additives. The results of the study were presented in the highly-rated journal Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, which is included in the Scopus citation database (Q1).
Activating Brine with Ultrasound
The manufacture of gourmet meat products is an expensive process. To reduce costs and use raw materials rationally while ensuring the high quality of finished products, manufacturers use preliminary brine treatment. However, some choose methods that reduce the cost and adversely affect the safety of the final product for consumers. Scientists of the SUSU School of Medical Biology and K.G. Razumovsky Moscow State University of Technologies and Management have developed an alternative, reagentless method of processing raw materials through ultrasonic activation of brine.
"Brine plays a key role in meat processing. Penetration, distribution, and accumulation of salt in the microstructure of tissues determines the intensity of the maturation process of meat, leading to the formation of taste, aroma, and delicate consistency of the product. However, at pesent, meat processing plants have some difficulties, since the raw materials often have an inappropriate pH value, which leads to several risks reducing the quality," says Head of the Department of Food Technology and Biotechnology of the SMB Irina Potoroko, Professor, Doctor of Sciences (Engineering).
Many scientists in Russia are working on this issue and offer their own solutions to intensify the brining process and increase the level of hydration of meat proteins. Some use such methods as brine injecting into the tissues, electric processing of fresh meat, and salting processes using vibration and other different chemical and biochemical methods. But the search for the most efficient methods is still relevant.
"As a rule, the technology of processing of meat is based on the method of electrical stimulation and the use of phosphate preparations. Our team has proposed acoustic activation of brine as an alternative method to intensify the process," says one of the authors of the project, Lina Tsirulnichenko, Candidate Sciences (Engineering), Associate Professor of the SMB Department of Food Technology and Biotechnology.
Fast and of Good Quality
By now, methods of preparing aqueous electrolyte solutions using ultrasonic cavitation have been developed in the food industry. SUSU partners Sergey Shestakov and Olga Krasulya from K.G. Razumovsky Moscow State University of Technologies and Management are conducting studies in this field. Scientists from South Ural State University have completed research on the use of activated fluids in the meat industry.
"We studied the microstructure of meat products and showed for the first time that the use of ultrasonic methods at the stage of raw material preparation contributes to faster and deeper brine penetration into the depths of the products. It was experimentally proved that the quality of the product improves, because the maturation processes that are necessary for the formation of taste, aroma, and consistency of a meat product are completed more quickly and fully," explains Lina Tsirulnichenko.
The unique method of using brines processed with ultrasound can be used in meat processing plants, as this method is environmentally friendly and does not require the use of additional reagents to obtain a safe and high-quality product.