Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture and natural resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran.


Introduction: Camel carcasses has lower fat content in comparison with cow, moreover, camel meat has relatively higher polyunsaturated fatty acids and lower cholesterol contents (Kadim et al., 2009a & 2006). However, calcium amount of camel meat is greater than that of cow, and its lower consumption is partly related to this issue. With increasing demand of camel meat, more attention has been paid to the quality and chemical composition of it. Acid marinade can be used through the diffusion of the solution and its propagation over time as an extensive method to improve the meat tenderness (Yusop et al., 2010). Lactic acid is often used in the meat industry as an antimicrobial during carcass slaughter. In addition, lactic acid can improve meat tenderness (Hinkle et al., 2010). The aim of the present study was to determine the influence of lactic acid and sodium chloride on textural and sensory properties, also and proteolysis pattern of biceps femoris muscle of camel.
Materials and Methods: Six 4 to 7 years old camels were transported to the slaughterhouse in Mashhad (Iran). Slaughtering and dressing of camels were carried out according to Islamic methods. All chemicals and reagents in the experiments were of analytical grade and purchased from Merck and Sigma-Aldrich companies. Biceps femoris muscle was used as an experimental material, cutting into 2×2×5 cm3 pieces, and laid in lactic acid solutions (0, 0.5, 1, and 1.5% v/v, all accompanied with 2% w/v NaCl) at a ratio of 1 to 4 (meat  to marination solution) within plastic bags. Marination process was carried out for 0, 24, 48, 72 h at 4 °C. The meats were then removed from the marinade and dried lightly. After that, moisture, ash, protein and fat contents of the meat were specified by AOAC (2002). Shear force was measured by TA.XT plus texture analyzer (Stable Micro Systems, UK) provided with a Warner-Bratzler shear force blade method in order to evaluation of meat tenderness (Byrne et al., 2000). Myofibrillar fragmentation index (MFI) was determined as described by zahedi et al. (1393). Sarcomere length was measured with the method of Botha et al. (2007). One-dimensional gel electrophoresis was determined as described by zahedi et al. (1393). Collagen content was specified by AOAC (1993). Sensory properties including color, texture, flavor, juiciness and overall acceptance were performed using a 5-point structured hedonic scale (Hoffman et al., 2006 & 2008). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the significant differences between treatments using SPSS software (version 19). Duncan’s multiple range test was used to compare the means.
Results and discussion: Acid concentration and marination time had a significant effect (p <0.05) on sarcomere length. It was likely due to the fact that the addition of acid led to increase in pure positive charges on myofibrils and cytoskeletal proteins. As a result, more repulsive forces were generated between the protein molecules of myofibrils. Eventually, myofibrils swelling caused distancing Z lines from one another, and increasing the sarcomere length (Ke et al., 2008). The results of analysis of variance showed that the concentration of lactic acid had a significant effect on MFI (p<0.05), and MFI value was less than zero at 0% concentration, however, it was non-significant in relation to the time (p> 0.05). The higher MFI values of the marinated samples may be due to the proteolysis of myofibrile proteins using D-cathepsins which activated at acidic pH (range 3-6).  Meat samples marinated in the highest concentration for 72 h showed the lowest WBSF (p<0.05). The tenderising mechanism of acid marinades was believed to be including weakening of structures due to swelling of meat, increasing proteolysis by cathepsins, and conversion of collagen to gelatin at low pH during cooking (Berge et al., 2001; Offer & Knight, 1988). The retention time and acid concentration did not have a significant effect (p> 0.05) on the collagen amount of lactic acid treated samples. It was likely that low acid concentration, although affecting some of the parameters, is not suitable for degradation of connective tissue (Hinkle et al., 2010). Sensory analysis showed that tenderness of the samples marinated at with 1.5% acid received the highest score (p<0.05), which was consistent with the instrumental results. Acid concentration significantly affected (p<0.05) total acceptance of the samples. Higher levels of acid can be used for marinating without adversely affecting the consumer acceptance. Results from SDS-PAGE showed that number of seven bands on gels, on average, were belonged to intact proteins, and other bands were considered as peptides which resulted from proteins proteolysis, especially heavy proteins. Also, time had non-significant effect on band area of myosin heavy chain (p>0.05), while, acid concentration had a significant effect on the area of ​​this protein (p<0.05). The band area of proteins C, α-actinin and actin proteins enhanced as a function of acid concentration and marination time (p<0.05).
In conclusion, we can claim that lactic acid and sodium chloride can be used as an effective acidic marination to improve biceps femoris muscle of camel meat. This method can be advice as a trick for tenderizing camel meat in household consumptions, restaurants and also meat industry, thereby increasing demand for camel meat in order to gain further healthy benefits of it.


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