Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences


Daren P. Cornforth


Extra lean (3.3% fat) and lean (20.0% fat) hamburgers in three pH groups (≤ 6.0; 6.01-6.49; 6.50-6.92) were evaluated for cooking-temperature profile, total process lethality, and physical properties after cooking to 71°C by double-side frying on an electric grill. Neither cooking-temperature profile nor cooking time was affected by hamburger fat content or pH. Double-side frying to 71.1°C internal temperature was adequate for more than 6-log destruction of viable E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella at the geometrical center of extra lean and lean hamburgers. The coldest spot was on the circumferential surface, as indicated by the presence of a red ring of undenatured myoglobin, and confirmed by the finite-element temperature distribution model.

The effect of pH (5.80, 6.29, 6.73) on myoglobin denaturation in extra lean (3.3% fat) and lean (20.0% fat) hamburgers was studied. Compared to normal meat (pH= 5.8), raw extra lean ground beef of pH = 6.73 had significantly lower oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) value, lower concentration of metmyoglobin after 48 hr of refrigerated storage, and more distinct cherry-red color. Percent of myoglobin denaturation during cooking was affected mainly by pH and was not affected by total pigment or fat content of hamburgers. A pH ≥ 6.5 and ORP ≤ -200 mV were characteristic of dark-cutting beef

In a third experiment, extra lean (3.5%) and lean (20.0%) beef patties were made from normal beef (pH= 5.70) and dark-cutting beef (pH = 6.60). Controls were made with no additives or with 1% salt and 10% added water. Various browning agents (1% glucose, 0.2% caramel colorant, 0.3% calcium peroxide, or 2.5% encapsulated lactic acid) were added with 10% water and 1% salt. Salt had a pronounced prooxidant effect on myoglobin. Distinctive absorption peaks at 541-548 nm and 577-582 nm indicated that the undenatured pigment in cooked patties was oxymyoglobin. Dark-cutting patties had more rubbery texture and slightly perceptible off-flavor. Patties with lactic acid were less juicy and had lower intensity of beef flavor than other patties, and moderate intensity of sour off-flavor. Addition of salt and encapsulated lactic acid to beef patty formulation could solve the problem of hard-to-cook patties.