An independent study published in the Journal of Food Science has recognized the superior performance of Texture Technologies’ Warner-Bratzler shear blade in assessing firmness and texture in salmon fillets.*

The blade, which is used to assess the cutting force, or “bite” of fresh fish, was the most sensitive method tested and yielded the most consistently accurate and repeatable data. As post-mortem quality degradation in fish continues to affect revenues, these conclusions will assist manufacturers looking to implement reliable, accurate and tested quality control procedures.

The study aimed to establish the most suitable methods of detecting firmness in salmon fillets and predicting post-cold smoking texture. Researchers compared a new tensile strength test with various established analysis methods. All instrumental methods tested used Stable Micro Systems’ TA.XTPlus Texture Analyzer fitted with a 50 kg load cell, controlled by the company’s Exponent software.

While the Warner-Bratzler shear blade was found to be the most effective method of measuring firmness and predicting post-smoking texture, the new tensile test provided the highest levels of accuracy when predicting post-mortem gaping (the appearance of tears or slits within the fillet on handling). The test, which used the TA.XTPlus Texture Analyzer to pull samples apart while measuring the force required to do so, is a valuable addition to the existing pool of instrumental methods for fish flesh quality assessment.

Dr. Ian Johnston, Fish Muscle Research Group, University of St Andrews commented: “Approximately 40 percent of Atlantic salmon is downgraded during secondary processing due to soft flesh or gaping. Soft flesh results in a poor quality product with an unpleasant, mushy mouthfeel, while gaping causes unsightly fillets with low customer acceptability. Fillets with significant gaping are also unable to withstand the demands of mechanical handling and industrial processing. The results of our study will enable manufacturers to confidently undertake precise, consistent quality control.”

The Warner-Bratzler blade and TA.XTPlus Texture Analyzer are part of a wide family of texture analysis rigs from Texture Technologies.  A portfolio of specialist products is available to measure and analyse textural properties of a huge range of food products, including bread volume, cheese extensibility, dough stickiness and yogurt consistency.

*A Novel Tensile Test Method to Assess Texture and Gaping in Salmon Fillets. Authors: T. J. Ashton, I. Michie and I. A. Johnston, Journal of Food Science (2010). 75: S182-S190.

Article Written by Stable Micro Systems