Measuring Texture Through Meat Penetration Strength Testing

Texture Analyzer

People these days prefer tender rather than tough meat. Hence with meat, measures are taken to quickly obtain the optimal degree of tenderness by immersing it in water, and in solutions of protein-splitting enzymes.

Figure 1 Diaguram of Pentration / Figure 2 Meat Penetration Strength Testing

The tester used in this case was the Shimadzu Table-top Material Tester EZ-S 10N.
Fig. 3 is a diagram of penetration test force versus penetration depth for the sample immersed in water for 20 minutes. Fig. 4 shows the results for the sample immersed in a protein-splitting enzyme solution for 20 minutes.

Figure 3 Diaguram of Results in Water / Figure 4 Diagram of Results in Enzyne Solution

For these tests, the strength of the sample of 20mm thick steak was measured when pierced to a depth of 10 mm by a penetration test jig of diameter 5 mm at a speed of 100 mm/min. In comparing Figs. 3 and 4, it is evident that the meat immersed in the enzyme solution for 20 minutes is more tender than the meat immersed in water for 20 minutes, as the jig penetrates all the way in at the same test force.
Further, a comparison of Figs. 1 and 3 shows that while the commercially available meat is penetrated to the same depth as the meat immersed for 20 minutes in water, approx. 4 times the strength is required, clearly indicating a difference in toughness. In this way, it was possible to quantify the texture of meat by plotting a diagram of meat penetration test force versus penetration depth. Table 1 below shows the maximum penetration test force in Figs. 1, 3, and 4.

Table 1

Sample Details

Average Maximum Test Force

Commercially Available Steak 3.90
Steak Immersed for 20 Minutes in Water 0.98
Steak Immersed for 20 Minutes in an Enzyme Solution 0.49

From this, values close to the true elastic modulus can be obtained through correction calculations using the Shimadzu Autograph AG-1kNZ and TRAPEZIUM-X materials test software, even when measurement of the actual sample deformation is difficult.