Fillers are used in comminuted meat products such as wieners to increase yield, improve stability, and modify textural properties. Light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy show that comminutred meat products are mechanical mixtures in which the microstructural features of starch and insoluble protein ingredients are largely retained. The water absorption and gelation properties of these ingredients contribute to the stability and textural firmness. Soluble proteins may improve stability through emulsion formation but the role of emulsion formation i s clearly secondary to that of gelation. The characteristic springy gel structure of wieners is determined by the gelation of myofibrlllar meat prote1ns. Provided the structure of the meat protein gel is not disrupted, fillers will generally increase both textural firmness and stability. Starch and protein fillers have been shown to increase the stability of wiener homogenates prepared at a higher (26 ' C) temperature than that which is normally used (16°C) . Light microscopy revealed that the "all-meat., wieners had a higher degree of fat agglomeration than did the more stable wieners containing added starch fillers. Electron microscopy revealed that the starch granules participated in the process of physically entrapping the fat globules. Fat globules varied in size and shape, and were observed in environments ranging from low to high protein densities. In surrmary, corrminuted meat pr oducts are shown to have a complex heterogeneous mi crostructure.
Comer, Frederick W. and Allan-Wojtas, Paula
"Functional and Microstructural Effects of Fillers in Comminuted Meat Products,"
Food Structure: Vol. 7
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/foodmicrostructure/vol7/iss1/4