Microwaves and Eggs

June 17/Electronics Business Journal -- According to recent research from the U.S., "Microwaves have been shown to cause thermal as well as nonthermal destruction of pathogens such as Salmonella, which can be found in shell eggs. The objective of this study was to determine if using microwave technology would cause detrimental quality effects in shell eggs."

"Treatments included control (no treatment) and microwave-treated (for 20 seconds) shell eggs. There were no differences in mineral content, fatty acid profile, Haugh units, broken-out score, yolk index, emulsion stability, pH of whole egg, and foaming capacity between two treatments (P >= 0.05). At 0 and 30 days, there were no noticeable differences in H2O activity between two treatments.

The foaming stability and albumen thermocoagulation of microwave-treated eggs were significantly higher than control eggs (P <= 0.05). The control eggs had significantly higher emulsion capacity and lower vitelline membrane strength than the microwave-treated eggs (P <= 0.05). Poached eggs were evaluated by sensory testing for hardness, yolk color, and albumen color, and there are no noticeable differences at 0, 15 or 30 days. At 0 day, the color of control albumen was more yellow than the microwave-treated albumen, and the chalazae of the microwave-treated eggs was more attached than the control eggs (P <= 0.05). The TBA reactive substances were similar for two treatments at 0, 15 and 30 days. Peroxide values were significantly higher in the microwave-treated eggs at day 0 (P <= 0.05), but at 15 and 30 days, no prominent differences in peroxide values were noted (P >= 0.05)," wrote D.G. Lakins and colleagues, Technical University.

The researchers concluded, "Therefore, microwave technology can be applied to shell eggs without causing detrimental effects to quality."

Lakins and colleagues published their study in Poultry Science ("Comparison of Quality Attributes of Shell Eggs Subjected to Directional Microwave Technology." Poultry Science.

For additional information, contact C.Z. Alvarado, Texas Technical University, Dept. of Animal & Food Science, Box 42141, Lubbock, TX 79409.

From the June 22, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition