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Changes in Meat Proteins in Cooking and Relationship to Meat Tenderness. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

Introduction

Ever since man became civilized, there have been considerable changes in his palate. The advancements seen in different fields also encompass food science. Once of the important aspect of food science is the study regarding the changes that occur to proteins upon cooking and the different factors that affect the softness of the food (Varnam and Sutherland, 1995; Pearson and Gillett, 1996; Lawrie, 1998). The present study involves an analysis of the changes happening to meat proteins during cooking and the different processes that play a role in determining softness of meat. Studies have shown that juiciness of meat is affected and varies with cooking rate and final temperature (Aaslyng et al., 2003, Bejerholm and Aaslyng, 2003, Bowers et al., 1987, Heymann et al., 1990, Joseph et al., 1997, Laakkonen et al., 1970 and Wood et al., 1995). Cooking loss happens with increase in temperature. Initially it was accepted that variation in juiciness was attributed to water loss but recent studies have shown that this loss is accounted only by ten percent and the rest to multiple other factors. It is now accepted that cooking loss due to water content is not the only determinant of juiciness. Studies that focus on the property of the internal water content of meat and its contribution to juiciness and its relationship to temperature are few. Bertram et al (2005) have shown that juiciness reduces when temperature is elevated. They found that juiciness of pork reduced when temperature was elevated from 62°C to 75°C and attributed this loss to the change in the pores that hold the water in the muscle fibres and also due to elimination of water. Some studies show that meat tenderness is also contributed by proteolysis of important myofibrillar proteins during storage (Koohmaraie et al, 2002).

 

Discussion and Conclusion
Experimental studies have shown that meat juiciness and tenderness vary from one cooking method to another (Przybylski et al, 2007; Ramadan, 2006; Dreeling et al, 2000). They show that meat tenderness is more when it is boiled. On the contrary when meat is grilled, it is juicier. The increased breakdown of the proteins, i.e. hydrolysis contributes to the greater softness in the boiled sample compared to the frying and grilling methods. During grilling, there is less meat hydrolysis which happens mainly around the surface. This results in the meat holding more juice because the proteins are more intact than that during boiling or frying. Moreover the surface denaturing seals shut the entry points for the internal water in the meat. So of all the three methods used in the present study boiling is the beast when meat tenderness is concerned but grilling is the best when juiciness is the requirement.

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