Improving the quality of meat from ratites

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An overview of the ratite industries and use of these birds for meat, with emphasis on ostrich, introduces this topic. Growth traits, carcass yields, and meat composition of the ostrich, rhea, and emu as the major ratite species are discussed. Diet, breed, transport, lairage, and slaughter practices influence pH decline and rigor mortis and may alter lipid components, fiber types, color, tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of ratite meat. Fiber diameter, sarcomere length, and collagen content are not highly related to tenderness of ostrich meat, which is variable with animal age, muscle, and aging period enzyme activity. The chemical and nutritional profiles of meat from ratites are altered by diet, breed, bird age, and muscle while microbiological profiles of ratite meat are more affected by sanitary practices and packaging. Value-added products such as mince, salami, jerky, ham, sausages, and cured meat products can be successfully manufactured from ostrich meat. While it is unlikely that the emu and rhea industries will develop into major meat-producing entities, the future of the well-established ostrich meat industry may depend upon control of the contagious avian diseases. Technological developments for slaughter and processing have potential for success in the ratite meat industries, with optimization of live bird production and meat harvest and processing desirable for highest meat quality and shelf-life. © 2009 Woodhead Publishing Limited All rights reserved.

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Improving the Sensory and Nutritional Quality of Fresh Meat

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