Purdue University Graduate School
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Effect of Environmental Enrichments on Fresh and Processed Meat Quality of Turkeys

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posted on 2022-12-09, 19:51 authored by Melinda Ashley DennisMelinda Ashley Dennis


Environmental enrichments have been investigated to determine impacts on turkey health and welfare; however, there is limited data to determine the impact of these enrichments on fresh or processed turkey meat quality. One hundred and forty-four turkeys were randomly assigned to six enrichment treatments: control (C), pecking block (PB), platform (P), platform + straw bale (PSB), straw bale (SB), and tunnel (T). Each treatment was replicated within two rooms in the same barn, with 24 pens total (n = 4 pens/treatment). At 19 weeks of age, turkeys were weighed (live weight, kg), and harvested over two days, with three birds from each pen per day (n=144). A subset of 96 turkeys were fabricated into wings, boneless thighs, drumsticks, and boneless breasts at 24 h postmortem in order to determine carcass cutting yields. From the breast and thigh, three, 1.25 cm samples were taken for pH, proximate analysis, and drip loss. From the breast, three, 2.54 cm samples were taken for instrumental color and sensory analysis, with all remaining breast sample used for further processed boneless turkey breast. Breast portions were pumped with a commercial brine (water, salt, brown sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite) to 110% by weight. Brined breast was then vacuum sealed and vacuum tumbled (9 rpm for 90 min, stopping every 15 min for 10 min). Tumbled breast was stuffed into a cellulose casing, thermally processed (internal temperature 68.3oC), and smoked to produce boneless turkey logs. From each log, eight, 1.25 cm slices were taken for packaged purge loss, expressed moisture, instrumental color, and texture and sensory analysis. All treatment levels were analyzed using PROC GLM (SAS 9.4, SAS Institute, Cary, NC). Statistical significance level was set at P≤0.05. For fresh turkey, results showed significant differences in live weight by treatment. SB turkeys weighed the least, PB turkeys weighed the most, and T, PSB, C, and P were intermediate in weight (P=0.008). Treatment did not impact the cut-out values for breasts (P=0.387), thighs (P=0.985), wings (P=0.211), and drumsticks (P=0.575). Treatment did not impact breast L* (P=0.777), a* (P=0.247), or b* (P=0.366) or thigh L* (P=0.936) and a* (P=0.067), but PSB thighs displayed the highest b* values and PB thighs displayed the lowest (P=0.037). Finally, for fresh turkey, treatment did not impact breast drip loss (P=0.766), thigh drip loss (P= 0.933), breast pH (P=0.197), or thigh pH (P=0.385). For processed turkey quality, treatment had no effect on a* (P=0.498) or b* (P=0.831) but was significant for L*. SB, T, P, and PSB had lighter color values, C had darker color values, and PB had intermediate values (P=0.024). Finally, for processed turkey quality, treatment did not impact processing yield (P=0.058) or packaged purge loss (P=0.581), but treatment impacted expressed moisture (P=0.041). PB, PSB, C, and T had higher expressed moisture loss, P had the lowest, and SB had intermediate expressed moisture loss (P=0.041).


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Animal Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Stacy Zuelly

Additional Committee Member 2

Brad Kim

Additional Committee Member 3

Marisa Erasmus

Additional Committee Member 4

Tracy Scheffler

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