Food Structure


Our obective was to determine whether or not salt and pyrophosphate have the same effect on the structure of pieces of meat as they have on isolated myofibrils. Blocks of pig M. longissimus dorsi were incubated in solutions of sodium chloride at pH 5.5 or sodium chloride plus sodium pyrophosphate at pH 5.5 or 8.0. The blocks were obtained from fresh (24h post- mortem) or aged (72h post-mor tem) muscle and incubated for 5 or 24h with minimal agitation. There was considerable uptake of water by the tissue especially at the higher pH and longer times.

Electron microscopy of the meat incubated in salt plus pyrophosphate at pH 8.0 revealed complete or nearly complete extraction of the A-band to a depth of at least one fibre from the surface. In meat incubated in salt plus pyrophosphate at pH 5.5 the extraction of the A-band was 1 ess complete and appeared to occur only near the surface. In salt alone no extraction of the A-band occurred.

Swelling of myofibrils close to the surface could be detected either by a reduction of density or by greater separation of filaments .

Break-up of the Z-line, probably due to mechanical disruption imposed by swelling of myofibrils, was a common feature of the salt treatments. Mitochondria near the surface were grossly swollen, especially with salt plus pyrophosphate at pH 8.0

At low pH amorphous material was observed inside and outside the cell membrane, but at high pH filamentous material was present in these areas.

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