New method to detect woody breast fillets


USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announced the completion of a funded research project at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in which researchers found a new method to detect woody breast fillets.
The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Claxton Poultry and is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. 
A complete report, along with information on other Association research, may be obtained by going to USPOULTRY’s website:

Project #708: Developing and validating a Bioelectrical Impedance Index for rapid detection of woody breast fillets
(Dr. Amit Morey, Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama)

Dr. Amit Morey in the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn University recently completed a research project where he evaluated a hand-held bioelectric impedance device for its ability to detect broiler breast fillets affected with the woody breast condition. The device was found to be able to successfully differentiate severely affected fillets from normal fillets by analyzing the electrical properties of the meat. This technique may be used by plant personnel to more accurately sort breast fillets.
The bioelectrical properties of breast fillets are significantly affected by woody breast myopathy and hence can be used to detect woody breast. The project was aimed at developing and validating a hand-held bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) tool for rapid detection of woody breast fillets. Woody breast fillets affected to varying degrees of severity were analyzed using the bioelectrical impedance analysis, proximate composition (protein, moisture and fat) and texture analysis. BIA measurements were taken at three different locations on the fillet to determine if there were differences in the electrical properties due to position. The BIA was then used to determine the accuracy of detection of the woody breast fillets by plant personnel.

Although there were no corresponding significant differences in moisture content or moisture lost during cooking, total body water was significantly higher in severely affected breast fillets than in normal breast fillets. This may explain the differences seen in electrical properties of severely affected woody breast fillets.

BIA can be successfully used to detect normal fillets and severely affected fillets but does not differentiate between mildly and moderately affected fillets. When the BIA tool was used to evaluate fillets, which had been sorted by plant personnel into severely affected fillets and normal breast fillets, it indicated an accuracy of 89.80% by plant personnel in identifying the severely affected woody breast fillets. Approximately 10% of woody breast fillets were categorized as normal by plant personnel.

The bioelectrical impedance analysis method can be used effectively to differentiate between normal and severely affected woody breast meat. Quality assurance personnel can use it as an efficient hand-held system to ensure the quality of meat being sent to the customers. This method can reduce human error in sorting breast fillets. Companies can use this device to determine the percentage of normal and severely affected woody breast fillets and track trends by season, farm or management practices. Genetics companies can potentially use this technology to help identify woody breast in the genetic selection process.