Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences
Dr. Silvana Martini
Flavor lexicons are used in sensory evaluation to determine the flavor profile of a food product. The objective of this study was to develop a flavor lexicon for cooked beef, which can then be used in various projects relating to beef quality such as studies investigating animal diet, marinating, ageing, or other enhancements. A descriptive panel of 10 people was used to develop a flavor lexicon of 18 attributes, including astringent, barny, bloody, brothy, browned, gamey, grassy, juicy, fatty, livery, metallic, oxidized, roast beef, and the five basic tastes (bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami). In contrast to other studies on beef, this lexicon was developed to include both positive and negative attributes. The lexicon was able to show that rib eye steaks from the Longissimus dorsi muscle in grass-fed animals were significantly (p<0.05) higher in barny, bitter, gamey, and grassy flavors, and lower in juicy and umami flavors. The steaks were also rated by consumers, who showed a preference for grain-fed beef over grass-fed beef. The ratings of the descriptive panel were related to the consumer panel scores to equate the lexicon terms with a positive or negative consumer degree of liking score. Those terms that were considered positive in this study due to their positive correlation with consumer liking include brothy, umami, roast beef, juicy, browned, fatty, and salty. The terms that were inversely associated with consumer liking were barny, bitter, gamey and grassy, among others. A separate descriptive panel was conducted on the Spinalis dorsi (or “cap” muscle) of the rib eye steak, with similar results. Additionally, descriptive and consumer evaluations found no difference between two types of grass diets, namely alfalfa and sainfoin. Different mixtures of beef and chicken were also evaluated to determine flavor differences between the two meats. Chicken was found to be more closely correlated to brothy, juicy, sweet, and umami, among others, while beef was found to be more closely correlated to terms such as gamey, bloody, oxidized, metallic, roast beef, and astringent. Throughout these tests, the newly developed lexicon was shown to be an effective tool for profiling fresh meat samples.
Maughan, Curtis A., "Development of a Beef Flavor Lexicon and Its Application to Compare Flavor Profiles and Consumer Acceptance of Grain- and Pasture-Finished Cattle" (2011). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 915.
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