The Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear (MORS) blade avoided costly and time-consuming sensory evaluation, the company said. The equipment and test method was developed at the University of Arkansas by Dr Jean-François Meullenet and Professor Casey Owens.
The system uses an extremely sharp craft knife blade of defined dimensions, attached to Stable Micro Systems' TA.XTPlus texture analyser to conduct a cutting/shearing test.
The firm said because the blade was narrow and penetrated to only 20mm, the MORS test made only a small incision into samples, causing far less damage than traditional instrumental or human cutting tests. The blade could also be removed and replaced regularly – or even after every test – to ensure edge sharpness, it added.
60 measurements an hour
The blade could perform 60 measurements an hour, double the number achievable with an Allo-Kramer shear test, one of the better-known instrumental poultry testing methods, said Stable Micro Systems.
The Allo-Kramer multiple blade compression system and Warner-Bratzler shear blades are widely used for evaluating poultry tenderness and have become industry-standard testing methods.
However, it has been reported that their results are significantly affected by sample dimensions, a concern eliminated by the use of the MORS blade, Stable Micro Systems reported.
The new system is designed to exhibit a higher correlation with human sensory test results while testing just as reliably as, but faster than, other instrumental methods.
Shortening sample preparation time
Tests using the MORS blade are conducted on whole intact fillets, minimising experimental errors attributable to sample preparation, shortening sample preparation time and leading to simpler testing, according to Stable Micro Systems.
In the tests, razor blade shear energy (N*mm) is calculated as the area under the force deformation curve from the beginning to the end of the test. Maximum shear force (N) is also recorded. Both parameters are used as instrumental indicators of meat tenderness.
Results show four or more shears per fillet (in predetermined locations) will provide a reliable estimate of poultry tenderness.