Utilizing Dark Meat Chicken

April 21/Edmondon/Food Weekly Focus -- "Chicken dark meat has been considered as a majorly underused commodity due to the increasing demand for further-processed breast meat products. One option to increase the utilization of chicken dark meat is to extract myofibrillar proteins and separate them from fat and pigments to enhance their application for the preparation of further-processed meat products," scientists writing in the journal Poultry Science report.

"The objective of the current study was to determine the effect of pH, in the range of 10.5 to 12.0, on the alkaline solubilization process of chicken dark meat. Aspects studied were the effect of the alkali-aided process on protein content, lipid composition, lipid oxidation and color characteristics of the extracted meat. Each experiment and each assay were done at least in triplicate. Lipid content of the extracted meat showed a 50% reduction compared with the chicken dark meat. Neutral lipids were reduced by 61.51%, whereas polar lipids were not affected by the alkali treatments. There was a higher amount of TBA reactive substances observed in the extracted meat compared with chicken dark meat, indicating that extracted meat was more susceptible to oxidation. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (224n-6, 203n-3, 205n-3, 225n-3, and 226n-3), which were detected only in the polar lipids, were responsible for increasing lipid oxidation susceptibility of extracted meat compared with chicken dark meat. Alkali-aided extraction of chicken dark meat lightened the color of the meat. The redness, yellowness, and total heme pigments in extracted meat significantly decreased by 83, 11 and 53%, respectively, compared with chicken dark meat. Even though this process did not remove polar lipids, based on our early findings, the extracted meat had considerable physicochemical and textural properties for product preparation compared with those of raw dark meat," wrote V. Moayedi and colleagues, University of Alberta.

The researchers concluded, "Hence, alkali recovery of protein can be considered a potentially useful method to increase the utilization of dark chicken meat."

Moayedi and colleagues published their study in Poultry Science (Alkali-aided Protein Extraction of Chicken Dark Meat: Composition and Stability to Lipid Oxidation of the Recovered Proteins." Poultry Science, 2010;89(4):766-775).

Additional information can be obtained by contacting M. Betti, University of Alberta, Dept. of Agr Food & Nutr Science, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada.

From the April 26, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition