Ultrastructural changes in pre- and post-rigor beef muscle caused by conventional and microwave cookery
Examination of cooked pre-rigor muscle by TEM (transmission electron microscopy) and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) revealed that all cookery methods resulted in the development of supercontraction bands alternating with areas showing tissue fragmentation and tearing. Microwave cookery produced smaller and less dense supercontraction nodes in pre-rigor muscle with less tearing and fragmentation but more fibre separation. Although cold-shortened pre-rigor muscle cooked by all methods also exhibited supercontraction bands with some tearing and fragmentation in adjacent sarcomeres, the samples cooked by microwaves showed a more uniform repeating pattern of small stretched areas alternating with dense contracted areas. Cooking of muscle in full rigor resulted in myofibrillar protein coagulation and shrinkage but supercontraction nodes were absent. Cold-shortened bicarbonate treated muscle was relatively intact after cooking, exhibiting fusion of the myofibrils and an absence of intermyofibrillar spaces. Results are discussed in relation to possible effects upon tenderness.
Hsieh, Y.P.C., Cornforth, D.P., Pearson, A.M. and Hooper, G.R. 1980. Influence of cooking methods and postmortem treatment on muscle ultrastructure. Meat Sci. 4:299.