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Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

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Meat Science
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/meatsci

Review

Application of near infrared reectance spectroscopy to predict meat and meat


products quality: A review
N. Prieto a,*, R. Roehe a, P. Lavn b, G. Batten c, S. Andrs b
a

Sustainable Livestock Systems Group, Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK
Instituto de Ganadera de Montaa (CSIC-Universidad de Len), Finca Marzanas, 24346 Grulleros, Len, Spain
c
The EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (an alliance of NSW Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University),
C/- Sea Spec Pty Ltd., P.O. Box 487, Woolgoolga, NSW 2456, Australia
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 31 December 2008
Received in revised form 25 April 2009
Accepted 28 April 2009

Keywords:
NIR spectroscopy
Meat
Meat products
Quality
Review

a b s t r a c t
Over the past three decades, near infrared reectance (NIR) spectroscopy has been proved to be one of the
most efcient and advanced tools for the estimation of quality attributes in meat and meat products. This
review focuses on the use of NIR spectroscopy to predict different meat properties, considering the literature published mainly in the last decade. Firstly, the potential of NIR to predict chemical composition
(crude protein, intramuscular fat, moisture/dry matter, ash, gross energy, myoglobin and collagen), technological parameters (pH value; L*, a*, b* colour values; water holding capacity; WarnerBratzler and
slice shear force) and sensory attributes (colour, shape, marbling, odour, avour, juiciness, tenderness
or rmness) are reviewed. Secondly, the usefulness of NIR for classication into meat quality grades is
presented and thirdly its potential application in the industry is shown. The review indicates that NIR
showed high potential to predict chemical meat properties and to categorize meat into quality classes.
In contrast, NIR showed limited ability for estimating technological and sensory attributes, which may
be mainly due to the heterogeneity of the meat samples and their preparation, the low precision of
the reference methods and the subjectivity of assessors in taste panels. Hence, future work to standardize
sample preparation and increase the accuracy of reference methods is recommended to improve NIR ability to predict those technological and sensory characteristics. In conclusion, the review shows that NIR
has a considerable potential to predict simultaneously numerous meat quality criteria.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Contents
1.
2.

3.
4.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Application of NIR spectroscopy to predict meat and meat products quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.
Chemical composition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.
Technological parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.
Sensory attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.
Classification into meat quality grades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Application of NIR spectroscopy in the industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conclusions and future outlook. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

175
177
177
180
183
183
184
184
184
185

1. Introduction

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 131 535 3361; fax: +44 131 535 3121.
E-mail addresses: etcnpb00@estudiantes.unileon.es, Nuria.Prieto@sac.ac.uk
(N. Prieto).
0309-1740/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2009.04.016

Generally meat demand and consumption is very high in most


developed countries, mainly due to the fact that it is a high-value
product in the human diet greatly prized by the consumer. Nevertheless, meat is a very heterogeneous product since the chemical

176

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

Table 1
Prediction of chemical components in meat and meat products by NIR spectroscopy sorted by publication year (last decade).
References

Meat

Sanderson et al. (1997)

Beef (M)

Tgersen et al. (1999)

Beef/Pork (M)

Brndum et al. (2000a)

Pork (I)

Cozzolino et al. (2000)

Lamb (I/M)

Rdbotten et al. (2000)


Abeni and Bergoglio (2001)

Beef (I)
Poultry (FD, M)

Chan et al. (2002)

Pork (I)

Cozzolino and Murray (2002)

Beef (I/M)

Lamb (I/M)

Poultry (I/M)

Cozzolino et al. (2002a)

Beef (I/M)

Anderson and Walker (2003)


Alomar et al. (2003)

Beef (M)
Beef (H)

Tgersen et al. (2003)

Beef (M)

Windham et al. (2003)


Berzaghi et al. (2005)

Poultry (H)
Poultry (FD, M)

Hoving-Bolink et al. (2005)


McDevitt et al. (2005)

Pork (I)
Poultry (FD, M)

Prevolnik et al. (2005)


Viljoen et al. (2005)

Beef (M)
Pork (I/M)
Poultry (FD, M)

Barlocco et al. (2006)

Pork (I/H)

Prieto et al. (2006)

Beef (H)

Savenije et al. (2006)


Andrs et al. (2007)

Pork (I)
Lamb (I)

De Marchi et al. (2007)

Beef (FM/FD)

Parameter
1

Protein (g kg )
IMF (g kg 1)
Ash (g kg 1)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
Protein (g kg 1)
IMF (g kg 1)
Moisture (g kg 1)
IMF (%)
Protein (% DM)
IMF (% DM)
Moisture (%)
Ash (% DM)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
Protein (g kg 1 DM)
IMF (g kg 1 DM)
Moisture (g kg 1 DM)
Protein (g kg 1 DM)
IMF (g kg 1 DM)
Moisture (g kg 1 DM)
Protein (g kg 1 DM)
IMF (g kg 1 DM)
Moisture (g kg 1 DM)
Protein (g kg 1)
IMF (g kg 1)
Moisture (g kg 1)
Ash (g kg 1)
IMF (%)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Dry matter (%)
Ash (%)
Collagen (%)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
IMF (%)
Protein (% DM)
IMF (% DM)
Dry matter (%)
Ash (% DM)
IMF (g kg 1)
Protein (g kg 1)
IMF (g kg 1)
Ash (g kg 1)
IMF (%)
IMF (%)
Protein (% DM)
IMF (% DM)
Dry matter (% DM)
Ash (% DM)
IMF (g kg 1)
Moisture (g kg 1)
Protein (g kg 1 DM)
IMF (g kg 1 DM)
Energy (MJ kg 1DM)
Dry matter (g kg 1)
Ash (g kg 1 DM)
Myoglobin(g kg 1
DM)
Collagen (g kg 1 DM)
IMF (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Dry matter (%)
Collagen (mg 100 g 1)

R2CAL

SECV

0.61
0.95
0.42
0.38/0.61
0.76/0.87
0.71/0.87
0.49
0.21
0.71/0.83
0.34/0.73
0.56/0.76
0.610.72

4.96
7.82
7.71
0.56/0.56
1.40/1.48
1.23/1.09
1.32
1.13
8.8/5.5
8.1/4.7
15.5/10.4
1.21.4

0.98

0.24

0.69
0.76
0.8
0.49/0.81
0.89/0.96
0.07/0.98
0.71/0.83
0.34/0.73
0.55/0.76
0.73/0.97
0.45/0.95
0.45/0.99
0.48/0.71
0.89/0.92
0.09/0.41

0.0042
0.0062
0.0058
23.9/21.8
46.9/44.8
15.2/33.1
8.8/5.5
8.1/4.7
15.5/10.3
6.9/2.4
9.0/5.4
15.9/6.9
23.9/20.5
46.9/43.4
15.6/16.1

0.96
0.82a
0.82a
0.77a
0.66a
0.18a
0.64
0.94
0.92
0.960.98
0.91
0.99
0.96
0.05
0.35
0.86
0.93
0.71
0.970.98
0.97/0.99
0.96
0.98
0.52
0.52
0.30/0.87
0.66/0.90
0.87
0.92
0.94
0.87
0.17
0.44

1.68
0.48
0.44
0.58
0.03
0.3
0.46
0.97
0.87
0.330.70
0.74
0.24
0.19
0.65
3.6
20.12
17.23
7.95
0.260.44
0.34/0.23

0.47
0.490.74
0.84
0.67
0.85/0.99
0.99/0.99
0.96/0.92
0.56/0.74

3.82
0.260.36
0.41
0.69
0.33/0.20
0.13/0.20
0.35/0.26
3.05/8.52

SEP

RPD

0.45/0.35
1.16/0.82
0.94/1.03
1.44
1.24
1.41/2.18
1.09/1.83
1.25/1.88

0.0042
0.0062
0.0063
1.16/1.91
2.21/2.67
0.99/2.81
1.41/2.18
1.09/1.81
1.25/1.89
1.86/5.4
1.16/3.63
1.11/4.80

2.28

0.320.84

0.64
0.18
0.75
0.23
4.0/1.8
3.1/1.1
20.33
16.22
0.29
6.75
5.15
3.45

0.370.40

2.33
2.36
2.04
1.67
1.1
1.67
4.17
3.62
3.8510.09
3.24

2.27
4.35
1.76
3.86.9
5.3/8.3
4.20
9.17
1.89
1.26
1.1/2.3
1.4/3.9
2.56
3.32
3.31
2.28
1.04
1.09
1.26
11.62
2.20
1.57
1.42/2.35
9.23/6.00
3.49/4.69
1.74/0.62

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N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186


Table 1 (continued)
References

Meat

Parameter

R2CAL

Viljoen et al. (2007)

Mutton (FD, M)

Ortiz-Somovilla et al. (2007)

Pork sausages (M/H)

Gaitn-Jurado et al. (2008)

Pork dry-cured sausages (I/


H)

Kestens, Charoud-Got, Bau, Bernreuther, and Emteborg


(2008)
Ripoll et al. (2008)

Pork (FD, H)

Protein (% DM)
IMF (% DM)
Dry matter (%)
Ash (% DM)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
Moisture (%)

0.98
1.00
0.98
0.87
0.93/0.92
0.97/0.99
0.97/0.98
0.97/0.97
0.98/0.99
0.93/0.98
0.94

Protein (%)
IMF (%)
Moisture (%)
Myoglobin (mg g

0.11
0.75
0.86
0.9

Beef (H)

SECV

0.61/0.53
1.35/0.87
0.99/0.79
0.91/0.95
1.36/0.96
1.03/0.53
0.5

SEP

RPD

0.92
0.43
0.38
0.15
0.83/0.87
1.38/0.94
1.00/0.76
1.08/0.95
1.47/0.71
0.97/0.41

11.39
28.46
3.40
4.53
2.75/2.62
5.39/7.92
5.48/7.21
4.51/5.13
6.11/12.65
3.43/8.12

1.02
0.49
0.37
0.26

1.09
1
1.87
2.38

R2CAL :

Coefcient of determination of calibration, SECV: standard error of cross validation, SEP: standard error of prediction, RPD: ratio performance deviation calculated as SD/
SEP, M: minced, I: intact, H: homogenized, FM: fresh minced, FD: freeze-dried, IMF: intramuscular fat.
a
Coefcient of determination of cross validation.
b
Not reliable.

composition, technological and sensory attributes are highly inuenced by pre-slaughter (breed, sex, age, weight and environment)
and post-mortem factors (storage time, temperature) (Andrs
et al., 2007; Lawrie, 1985; Venel, Mullen, Downey, & Troy, 2001).
Therefore, the variability in quality characteristics of meat is the
main concern of the consumer (Dranseld, 1994; Leroy et al.,
2003; Warriss, 2004). Indeed, it must be noted that in most developed countries, where the purchasing power of the population
does not limit the acquisition of meat, some consumers are willing
to pay higher prices for meat and meat products that guarantee
homogeneity and certain quality characteristics (Boleman et al.,
1997; Hammond, 1955; Prieto, Andrs, Girldez, Mantecn, and
Lavn, 2008).
Traditionally meat was domestically prepared, while nowadays
it is increasingly consumed as part of ready-to-eat convenience
products such as hamburgers and sausages. In these products,
the opportunity is given for the fraudulent replacement of premium quality material by grades that are inferior, carrying with
it a number of legal sanctions (Downey & Beauchne, 1997). Consequently, consumers need to be guaranteed that they are getting
exactly the quality they pay for and not an inferior quality meat.
In order to keep the quality standards as close as possible to the
preference of the target consumer, control procedures must be carried out on meat. Thus, different techniques such as chemical procedures, instrumental methods, sensory analysis and screening
methods have been used to provide information about meat quality. However, those techniques are destructive, time consuming
and consequently unsuitable for on-line application (Liu, Lyon,
Windham, Lyon, & Savage, 2004). In contrast to conventional
methods for the determination of meat quality parameters, near
infrared reectance (NIR) spectroscopy is a sensitive, fast and
non-destructive analytical technique with simplicity in sample
preparation allowing a simultaneous assessment of numerous
meat properties (Osborne, Fearn, & Hindle, 1993).
NIR spectroscopy has been successfully applied to the quantitative determination of major constituents (moisture, fat and protein) in meat and meat products as has been indicated in the
review of Prevolnik, Candek-Potokar, and korjanc (2004) and in
many recent papers (Berzaghi, Dalla Zotte, Jansson, & Andrighetto,
2005; Gaitn-Jurado, Ortiz-Somovilla, Espaa-Espaa, Perez-Aparicio, & De Pedro-Sanz, 2008; Prieto, Andrs, Girldez, Mantecn, &
Lavn, 2006; Viljoen, Hoffman, & Brand, 2007). In fact, near infrared
in the transmittance mode has been approved by AOAC (Anderson,
2007) for the commercial analysis of moisture, fat and protein in
meat and meat products using FOSS articial neural network

(ANN) prediction models. In addition, the discrimination between


frozen and unfrozen beef (Thyholt & Isaksson, 1997), beef and kangaroo meat (Ding & Xu, 1999) as well as broiler and local chicken
(Ding, Xu, & Chan, 1999; McDevitt, Gavin, Andrs, & Murray,
2005) has been possible using NIR. On the contrary, studies evaluating NIR to predict technological and sensory parameters in meat
and meat products show less reliability (Abeni & Bergoglio, 2001;
Andrs et al., 2007; Chan, Walker, & Mills, 2002; Geesink et al.,
2003; Hoving-Bolink et al., 2005; Rdbotten, Nilsen, & Hildrum,
2000; Candek-Potokar, Prevolnik, & krlep, 2006).
An excellent review showing the ability of NIR spectroscopy to
predict meat chemical composition and quality can be found in Prevolnik et al. (2004). The present review emphases papers published
after 2004 year but taking into consideration earlier papers. Besides,
it considers studies using this technique to estimate the constituents
and technological and sensory parameters not only in meat but also
in meat products. Reasons for variability in the reliability of published calibrations are discussed and further studies are encouraged
so that the full potential of the techniques can be achieved.

2. Application of NIR spectroscopy to predict meat and meat


products quality
2.1. Chemical composition
Many studies have conrmed the ability of NIR spectroscopy to
predict the content of main chemical components such as crude
protein (CP), intramuscular fat (IMF, referred to ether extract) and
moisture/dry matter (M/DM) in beef (Prevolnik et al., 2005; Prieto
et al., 2006; Tgersen, Arnesen, Nielsen, & Hildrum, 2003), poultry
meat (Berzaghi et al., 2005; Cozzolino & Murray, 2002; McDevitt
et al., 2005), mutton (Viljoen et al., 2007) and even in pork sausages (Gaitn-Jurado et al., 2008; Ortiz-Somovilla, Espaa-Espaa,
Gaitn-Jurado, Perez-Aparicio, & De Pedro-Sanz, 2007); showing
coefcients of determination (R2) and ratios performance deviation
(RPD) between 0.870.99 and 2.5628.46, respectively (Table 1).
Water is a variable constituent in meat and meat products representing up to 75% of the total fresh matter. The specic absorbance of OH bonds at 1450 and 1940 nm in the near infrared
spectra (Murray, 1986; Murray & Williams, 1987; Shenk, Westerhaus, & Workman, 1992), explains NIR predictability for this component. Fig. 1 shows NIR spectra of meats with different water
contents and indicates the absorption regions of the OH bonds.
The good performance of NIR to predict CP and IMF content, is

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N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186


A group
2.00

O-H

O-H

1.80

Y group

1.60

Log (1/R)

1.40
1.20
1.00
0.80
0.60
0.40

2468

2392

2316

2240

2164

2088

2012

1936

1860

1784

1708

1632

1556

1480

1404

1328

1252

1100

0.00

1176

0.20

Wavelength (nm)
Fig. 1. Average spectra [log (1/R)] corresponding to the meat samples obtained
from adult steers (A, n = 53) and young cattle (Y, n = 67) (Prieto, Andrs, Girldez,
Mantecn, & Lavn 2008b).

due to the absorption of the NH bonds at 14601570 nm and


20002180 nm for CP, and the absorption of the CH bonds of fatty
acids (11001400, 1700 and 22002400 nm) for IMF (Murray,
1986; Murray & Williams, 1987; Shenk et al., 1992). Examples of
NIR spectra of several meats with different fat contents are presented in the Fig. 2.
The majority of studies estimated the prediction accuracy by
means of cross-validation using the same sample set previously
used for the calibration. However, there are other studies in beef,
poultry, mutton meat and pork sausages (Anderson & Walker,
2003; Gaitn-Jurado et al., 2008; Ortiz-Somovilla et al., 2007; Viljoen, Hoffman, & Brand, 2005; Viljoen et al., 2007; Windham, Lawrence, & Feldner, 2003), which assessed the prediction accuracy
using a sample set different to that used for the calibration (external
validation). Even in these studies, the main chemical components
were successfully predicted, indicating that NIR is a simple and reliable technique to measure these components routinely.
In comparison with these studies, other authors observed high
levels of error for the prediction of CP, IMF and/or M/DM content
in beef, lamb, pork or poultry meat (Abeni & Bergoglio, 2001;
Brndum et al., 2000a; Cozzolino, De Mattos, & Martins, 2002a;
Hoving-Bolink et al., 2005; Ripoll, Albert, Panea, Olleta, & Saudo,
2008; Savenije, Geesink, Van der Palen, & Hemke, 2006). Several features can be found to explain these differences. Firstly the success of
the NIR technique relies partially on the variability present in the
samples analyzed. Hence, a narrow range of variability in the reference data could have negatively affect NIR predictability in some
studies. According to Ripoll et al. (2008), this together with analytical differences in measuring the N content by Kjeldahl analysis or
the absorbance of the amide bonds involving nitrogen by NIR spectroscopy (Lanza, 1983) could have reduced the NIR predictability.
Sample preparation also has an important effect on the reliability of NIR prediction, in particular, lack of homogeneity of the meat
samples inuenced the accuracy of estimation of chemical components. Some authors (Barlocco, Vadell, Ballesteros, Galietta, & Cozzolino, 2006; Cozzolino & Murray, 2002; Cozzolino, Murray, Scaife,
& Paterson, 2000; Cozzolino et al., 2002a; Gaitn-Jurado et al.,
2008; Prevolnik et al., 2005) showed that the chemical composition in minced samples can be more accurately predicted by NIR
spectroscopy than in intact tissue, most likely because minced
samples are more homogeneous. Furthermore, in intact meat samples, the muscle bres or myobrils themselves may act as optical
bres tending to conduct light along their length by a series of
internal reections. In addition, intact muscle absorbs more energy
therefore giving less reectance when compared to homogenized
muscles. Thus, homogenization severely disrupts the structure of

Fig. 2. Visible and near infrared mean spectrum of pork, beef, lamb and chicken
samples (Cozzolino & Murray, 2004).

the muscle, destroying and randomizing the bre arrangement of


the muscle as well as averaging the effects of scattering by bres.
Tgersen et al. (2003) reported that the ner the grinding, the
higher the prediction accuracy. However, the ability of NIR spectroscopy to predict the chemical composition using intact samples
is of great importance industrially (on-line). As fat is not homogeneously distributed in intact samples, increasing the number of
scans (Prevolnik et al., 2005; Ripoll et al., 2008; Rdbotten et al.,
2000) or using a larger sampling area (for example 5cm2; Hoving-Bolink et al., 2005) could help to reduce problems associated
with sample presentation. Similarly, Viljoen et al. (2005, 2007)
showed better prediction of chemical composition in freeze-dried
meat than in raw meat, as a consequence of the more homogenous
physical appearance of the former. In addition, temperature uctuations were not so critical when the spectra of freeze-dried samples were recorded due to the lack of water. Freeze-drying of
samples avoids the regions in the IR spectra with very high absorption (i.e. water absorptions from 1900 nm; Murray & Williams,
1987) which might limit predictions due to the high levels of noise
(Pedersen, Morel, Andersen, & Engelsen, 2003). However, the time
and costs associated with freeze-drying may prevent its use in
industrial applications. Furthermore, it may not be applicable in
on-line implementation of Vis-NIR.
Large errors in the reference data could also reduce NIR predictability. According to Cozzolino et al. (2002a), the analysis of M/DM
in meat samples could be hampered by variations of relative
humidity, causing changes of moisture content during sample preparation. Consequently, moisture analysis and NIR spectra collection
should be performed at the same time to avoid evaporative losses.
Many authors estimated unsuccessfully the ash content in meat
(Abeni & Bergoglio, 2001; Berzaghi et al., 2005; Cozzolino et al.,
2002a; McDevitt et al., 2005; Prieto et al., 2006; Sanderson, Lister,
Dhanoa, Barnes, & Thomas, 1997; Viljoen et al., 2005; Table 1)
mainly due to the fact that near infrared radiation does not interact
with pure minerals or inorganic compounds in their ionic forms
and salts. However, mineral content can be related to the organic
fraction through associations with organic acids, chelates or by
forming salts that modify the NIR spectra (Shenk & Westerhaus,
1995). This could be the reason why Viljoen et al. (2007) reported
a high NIR predictability for ash content in mutton, which was assessed by means of an external validation (R2 = 0.87, RPD = 4.53;
Table 1).
While the majority of studies focused on predicting the major
chemical components, some attempted to estimate the gross energy (GE), myoglobin and collagen content in meat (Alomar, Gallo,
Castaeda, & Fuchslocher, 2003; De Marchi, Berzaghi, Boukha,

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N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186


Table 2
Prediction of technological parameters in meat and meat products by NIR spectroscopy sorted by publication year (last decade).
Reference

Meat

Parameter

R2CAL

SECV

Byrne et al. (1998)


Park et al. (1998)
Andersen et al. (1999)
Brndum et al. (2000a)

Beef (I)
Beef (I)
Pork (I/H)
Pork (I)

Forrest et al. (2000)


Josell et al. (2000)
Rdbotten et al. (2000)
Abeni and Bergoglio (2001)
Rdbotten et al. (2001)

Pork (I)
Pork (I)
Beef (I) (Bull/Cow)
Poultry (FD,M)
Beef (I)

WBSF (kg)
WBSF (kg)
pH
WHC, Press loss (%)
WHC, Drip loss (%)
WHC, Drip loss (%)
pH
WBSF (kg/10 cm 2)
Colour L*, a*, b*

0.370.67
0.67
0.62/0.59
0.38
0.41
0.71
0.33
0.35/0.12

1.502.10
1.3
0.08/0.10
16.01
2.43
1.8
0.074
16.9/11.6

0.69
0.62
0.36
0.58
0.29
0.34
0.23
0.17
0.81/0.90
0.30/0.62
0.93/0.95
0.60/0.27
0.510.55
0.20
0.640.85a
0.190.49a
0.440.75a
0.380.54a
0.250.47a
0.120.41a
0.55
0.90
0.78
0.170.72
0.12a
0.62a
0.40a
0.38a

1.37
1.49
2.54
10.6
0.16
2.75
0.05
13.8
0.18/0.13
5.3/4.5
1.3/1.3
1.1/1.5
1.1

Venel et al. (2001)


Chan et al. (2002)

Beef (I)
Pork (I)

Cozzolino and Murray (2002)


Cozzolino et al. (2003)

Beef (I/H)
Pork (I/H)

Geesink et al. (2003)

Pork (I)

Leroy et al. (2003)

Beef (I)

Liu et al. (2003)

Beef (I)

Meulemans et al. (2003)

Pork (H)

Pedersen et al. (2003)


Liu et al. (2004)

Pork (I)
Poultry (I)

Meullenet et al. (2004)

Poultry (I)

Berzaghi et al. (2005)


Hoving-Bolink et al. (2005)

Poultry (FD,M)
Beef (I)

Barlocco et al. (2006)


Savenije et al. (2006)

Pork (I/H)
Pork (I)

ander-Potokar et al. (2006)


C

Pork (I/M)

Andrs et al. (2007)


De Marchi et al. (2007)

Lamb(I)
Beef
FM/FD
Beef (I) (0 min p.m./60 min p.m.)

Andrs et al. (2008)

WBSF (kg.cm 2)
2 days p.m.
9 days p.m.
21 days p.m.
WBSF (N)
pH
WHC, Press loss (cm2.g
WHC, Cooking loss (%)
WBSF (N)
pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
Drip loss (%)
WBSF (N)
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Drip loss (%)
WHC, Cooking loss (%)
WBSF (N)
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WBSF (kg)
pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Cooking loss (%)
WHC, Drip loss (%)
WBSF (N)
WHC, Drip loss (%)
pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WBSF (kg) (RM/CM)
WBSF (N)
Total shear energy (N.s)
pH (24 h/7 days)
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Drip loss (%)
WBSF (N.cm 1)
pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Drip loss (%)
pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Drip loss (%)
pH
WHC, Drip loss (%)
WBSF (kg.cm 2)
pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Cooking loss (%)
WBSF (kg.cm 2)

SEP

RPD

1.66/1.59
1.27
1.32
1.75
1.37
b

0.16
2.45
0.06
14.42

1.532.39
1.152.51
0.771.54
0.820.99
1.812.31
7.6811.19

1.48
1.23
1.40
1.07
2.11/1.92
1.06/1.24
1.62/1.62
1.36/1.07

1.632.55
1.081.39
1.301.95
1.241.46
1.131.40
1.061.30

0.09
2.53
1.22
1.18

0.08
4.74
1.87
1.34

1.25
1.08
1.07
1.12
b

0.54a

1.41

2.35

0.81

0.460.79
0.68
0.84
0.83
0.78
0.45/0.53
0.300.92
0.140.95
0.67/0.64
0.25
0.31
0.06
0.004
0.64/0.38
0.690.83
0.720.79
0.580.77
0.460.66
0.310.55
0.59/0.64
0.53/0.37
0.55/0.65
0.76/0.71
0.52/0.69
0.070.32
0.10/0.04
0.08/0.20
0.97
0.85/0.82
0.29/0.35
0.49/0.51
0.20
0.65

0.851.35
0.15
1.21
0.87
0.95
2.65/2.55
1.102.61
1.543.46
0.04/0.05
1
1.6
1
8.5/9.0
0.040.06
1.391.65
0.570.59
0.460.52
1.241.35
0.11/0.11
2.9/3.2
1.3/1.3
1.0/1.1
2.1/2.0
0.160.26
3.50/3.44
5.21/4.99
0.10
1.16/1.36
1.09/1.28
0.75/0.99
0.08
2.67

1.14
1.76
1.27
1.47
1.18/1.23
0.982.16
0.992.23

1.2/1.1
1.141.28
1.592.16
1.191.35
1.351.67
1.051.27
1.3/1.4
1.3/1.1
1.4/1.4
1.6/1.4
1.4/1.5
0.901.22
0.49/0.50
1.09/1.14
3.17
2.22/2.07
1.14/0.90
1.17/1.37
1.01
1.46
(continued on next page)

0.050.07
1.251.64
0.670.74
0.420.52
1.141.42

180

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

Table 2 (continued)
Reference

Meat

Parameter

R2CAL

SECV

Prieto et al. (2008a)

Beef (H) (Adult steers/young cattle)

Beef (H)

0.41/0.47
0.59/0.87
0.008/0.71
0.35/0.90
0.48/0.58
0.20/0.26
0.001/0.14
0.17/0.45
0.86
0.74

0.06/0.08
1.50/1.56
1.15/1.58
1.08/1.46
2.08/2.51
0.36/0.55
1.61/2.45
1.02/1.62

Ripoll et al. (2008)

pH
Colour L*
Colour a*
Colour b*
WHC, Press loss (%)
WHC, Drip loss (%)
WHC, Cooking loss (%)
WBSF (kg)
WHC, Press loss (%)
WBSF (kg)

SEP

RPD

1.34
1.06

1.12/1.26
1.24/2.17
0.98/1.58
1.16/2.51
1.11/1.30
1.02/1.04
0.97/1.03
1.07/1.18
1.76
1.44

R2CAL : Coefcient of determination of calibration, SECV: standard error of cross validation, SEP: standard error of prediction, RPD: ratio performance deviation calculated as SD/
SEP, I: intact, H: homogenized, M: minced, FM: fresh minced, FD: freeze-dried, RM: raw meat; CM: cooked meat, p.m.: post-mortem, WBSF: WarnerBratzler shear force,
WHC: water holding capacity.
a
Coefcient of determination of cross validation.
b
Not reliable.

Mirisola, & Gallo, 2007; Prieto et al., 2006; Ripoll et al., 2008). Prieto et al. (2006) indicated the outstanding ability of this technique
to estimate GE content in beefbecause of the high correlation between IMF content and GE (r = 0.86, P < 0.001); however, they
could not successfully predict the myoglobin content by means
of NIR spectra. In contrast, Ripoll et al. (2008) accurately estimated
this pigment in beef samples using not only the infrared but also
the visible region of the spectra (R2 = 0.90, RPD = 2.38; Table 1).
Including data from the visible region might have led to more accurate predictions since different forms of myoglobin (oxymyoglobin,
deoxymyoglobin and metmyoglobin) give rise to colours (bright
red, purple and brown, respectively) which absorb in the visible region. However, as far as collagen content is concerned, all the studies cited showed poor NIR prediction ability in beef. This could be
due to the fact that the NIR spectrum of collagen does not differ
much from that of myobrillar proteins, which are present in muscle at 10 times higher concentrations (Downey, & Hildrum, 2004),
and a lack of variability in the collagen content of meat samples
(Alomar et al., 2003).
Different aspects related to the NIR spectroscopy process (spectral data pre-treatments and regression methods) also affect its
ability to predict; however, these factors are beyond the objectives
of the present review and the reader is referred to other literature
for a discussion on chemometrics (Cen & He, 2007; Murray & Williams, 1987).
In conclusion, although published results vary considerably,
they suggest that NIR spectroscopy is a suitable alternative to analytical methods to predict the chemical composition of meat and
meat products. In particular, under commercial conditions where
simultaneous measurements of different chemical components
are required, NIR spectroscopy is expected to be the method of
choice. However, as a secondary procedure, NIR spectroscopy is
not independent of the disadvantages arising from the reference
method used for calibration, thus the success of NIR will depend
on the reliability of the reference method and sample presentation.
Hence, the reference method must be carefully chosen depending
on the particular needs in each case. In addition, a wide range of
reference values is required to maximise the predictability of NIR
spectroscopy, so the calibration samples must be specically selected to avoid very narrow ranges for a given parameter.
2.2. Technological parameters
In relation to the prediction of pH value by means of NIR spectroscopy, most studies have found no satisfactory equations for
beef, lamb, pork and poultry meat (R2 = 0.070.68, RPD = 0.90
1.66; Table 2). Some authors (Andersen, Borggaard, Rasmussen, &
Houmller, 1999; Berzaghi et al., 2005; Meulemans, Dotreppe, Ler-

oy, Istase, & Clinquart, 2003; Prieto, Andrs, Girldez, Mantecn, &
Lavn, 2008a) have suggested that scanning the samples after
grinding could have reduced the precision of predictions due to a
lack of information about the muscle structure i.e. light scattering
properties in intact muscle tissue (Swatland & Barbut, 1995).
According to Meulemans et al. (2003) and Berzaghi et al. (2005),
a low variation of measured pH values (between 5.2 and 5.8) or
the different samples used for pH measurement and NIR scan
may have reduced NIR predictability in pork and poultry meat
samples. On the contrary, Savenije et al. (2006) suggested that
NIR spectroscopy might be a suitable alternative to the pH meter,
which is slow and of low precision under routine operation, since
84% of the samples were predicted within 0.1 pH unit using NIR.
In addition, Cozzolino and Murray (2002) and Andrs et al.
(2008) could accurately predict pH values in beef samples
(R2 = 0.81, 0.97; RPD = 2.11, 3.17; respectively; Table 2), probably
due to a wide range of pH reference data, a good repeatability of
the reference method and intact meat sample presentation to the
NIR instrument.
Meat L*, a* and b* colour values (CIE, 1978) have been measured
objectively by means of a Minolta colorimeter (Cozzolino, Barlocco,
Vadell, Ballesteros, & Gallieta, 2003; Liu et al., 2003; Prieto et al.,
2008a). Studies evaluating NIR spectroscopy to predict colour values have been carried out as it is sensitive, fast and non-destructive. As far as L*, a* and b* colour prediction using NIR
spectroscopy is concerned, the results in the literature are contradictory (see Table 2). On the one hand, there are some authors
(Andrs et al., 2008; Cozzolino et al., 2003; Leroy et al., 2003; Liu
et al., 2003; Prieto et al., 2008a) showing successful predictions
of L*, a* and/or b* colour values (R2 > 0.85, RPD > 2.17). Prieto
et al. (2008a) showed coefcients of correlation up to 0.8 between
absorbance data and L* and b* values at 12301400 and 1600
1710 nm, which correspond to CH second overtone and CH combination bands, and CH rst overtone, respectively (Murray,
1986; Murray & Williams, 1987; Shenk et al., 1992); these wavelengths being related to the absorbance of the CH bonds present
in the intramuscular fat. Thus, L* and b* values could be predicted
by means of NIR spectra insofar as they were correlated to intramuscular fat content. It is worth mentioning the study carried
out by Savenije et al. (2006) who assessed the prediction accuracy
for L* using a sample set different to that used for the calibration.
Although the prediction of L* was not as accurate as that obtained
by the previous authors using cross-validation, it still showed a relatively high R2 of 0.79 and the SEP was low enough to result in a
RPD value of 2.16, considered to be suitable for screening purposes
(Williams, 2001; Williams & Sobering, 1993; Williams, 2008). The
use of the visible together with NIR region could have enabled a*
prediction in the studies carried out by Cozzolino et al. (2003)

181

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186


Table 3
Prediction of sensory attributes in meat and meat products by NIR spectroscopy sorted by publication year (last decade).
Reference

Meat

Parameter

R2CAL

SECV

Byrne et al. (1998)

Beef

Pork

0.060.26
0.280.52
0.280.50
0.180.50
0.0040.50
0.010.23
0.0030.881
0.69

0.350.39
0.710.88
0.380.45
0.460.56

Brndum et al. (2000b)

Rdbotten et al. (2000)

Beef (4 h/26 h NIR spectra)

Flavour
Tenderness
Texture
Acceptability
Flavour
Odour
Taste
Aftertaste
Juiciness
Tenderness
Chewiness
Flavour
Juiciness
Tenderness
Firmness
Texture
Chewiness
Acceptability
Colour
Marbling
Firmness
Juiciness
Chewiness
Flavour
Juiciness
Tenderness
Springiness
Cohesiveness
Chewiness
Afterfeel-Aftertaste
Pastiness
Colour
Flavour
Abnormal avour
Juiciness
Texture
Overall linking
Juiciness
Tenderness
Overall appraisal

0.26/0.14
0.19/0.12
0.08

0.66
0.96
1.13
0.33

1.06

0.26
0.10
0.14
0.16
0.21
0.45
0.32
0.32
0.50
0.58
0.020.35/0.100.46
0.21/0.11
0.21/0.22
0.27/0.14
0.30/0.11
0.28/0.37
0.040.24/0.070.14
0.94
0.67
0.34
0.13
0.38
0.16
0.27
0.54
0.98
0.56

0.78
0.63
0.59
0.33
0.43
0.33
0.75
0.36

1.17
1.05
1.07
1.09
1.09

Venel et al. (2001)

Beef

Chan et al. (2002)

Pork

Liu et al. (2003)

Beef

Liu et al. (2004)

Poultry (RM/CM)

Garca-Rey et al. (2005)

Dry cured ham

Andrs et al. (2007)

Lamb

Ripoll et al. (2008)

Beef

SEP

RPD

0.201.15
0.551.03
0.280.62
0.54

0.81.4
0.781.07
0.822.71
1.67

0.28
0.68
0.36

0.451.20/0.481.10
0.79/0.72
1.14/1.10
1.65/1.52
2.04/1.87
1.30/1.29
0.951.20/0.971.20

0.571.00/0.610.98
0.79/0.87
0.72/0.93
0.82/0.88
0.77/0.84
0.81/0.81
0.630.80/0.630.79
1.99
1.36

0.61
0.35
0.44

1.54
3.82
1.58

1.18
1.11
0.47
0.44
0.44
0.85
0.48

R2CAL : Coefcient of determination in calibration, SECV: standard error of cross validation, SEP: standard error of prediction, RPD: ratio performance deviation calculated as SD/
SEP, RM: raw meat, CM: cooked meat, PCR: principal component regression, PLSR: partial least-squares regression, MPLSR: modied partial least-squares regression, p:
number of factors used to perform the calibration models.
a
Not reliable.

and Liu et al. (2003). It is well known that a* is related not only to
the water content of meat but also to the concentration of myoglobin and the relative proportions of its three derivatives; therefore,
the rates of meat discoloration can be assayed by measuring reectance differences in the visible region of the spectra. On the other
hand, failure of NIR spectroscopy to estimate L*, a* and/or b* colour
values in beef, pork and poultry meat has been described by several authors (Abeni & Bergoglio, 2001; Hoving-Bolink et al., 2005;
ander-Potokar et al., 2006). The heterogeMeulemans et al., 2003; C
neous colour within the muscle, different slices for reference and
NIR analysis or the time elapsed between these two procedures
could have reduced the reliability of these NIR predictions. During
the time elapsed, the proportions of pigments determining a* value
might well have been modied, thus giving rise to changes in the
colour. In addition, in some of the previous studies the spectral
range did not contain the visible region, thus explaining the low
accuracy of prediction of the a* value.
With regard to water holding capacity (WHC) for meat and
meat products, most authors agree that NIR spectroscopy has limited capacity (R2 = 0.0010.58, RPD = 0.491.46; Table 2) to estimate water press (Brndum et al., 2000; Chan et al., 2002), drip
loss (De Marchi et al., 2007; Geesink et al., 2003; Hoving-Bolink
et al., 2005; Savenije et al., 2006) and cooking loss (Andrs et al.,
2008; Leroy et al., 2003; Prieto et al., 2008a). Only Forrest et al.

(2000) and Ripoll et al. (2008) reported moderate predictions


(R2 = 0.71, 0.86; RPD = 1.75, 1.76; respectively; Table 2), even by
means of external validation (Ripoll et al., 2008). NIR cannot directly predict WHC of meat samples; however, it shows associations with protein, intramuscular fat and water, which are
chemical components that are related to WHC. For example, during
meat aging the decrease in pH causes electrostatic repulsions between proteins and water, bringing about a closed structure with
a high WHC (Warriss, 2004). In addition, melted fat surrounds
the connective tissue acting as a barrier against cooking water loss
(Hornstein, Crowe, & Sulzbacher, 1960) and water is the main fraction lost after cooking. Nonetheless, even NIR measurements at
wavelengths related to these chemical fractions showed low coefcients of correlation with press, drip and cooking loss in some
studies (r < 0.6; Andrs et al., 2008; Prieto et al., 2008a). In these
cases, heterogeneity of the meat samples could have inuenced
the process, giving rise to a low precision of the reference method.
Forrest et al. (2000) showed that the reference method had a
strong tendency to be very precise on samples with low drip loss
(below 5% drip) whereas duplicate measurements deviated considerably for samples with higher drip loss. In addition, the low spectral variability within the pork samples used to calibrate the NIR
instrument or variation in temperature during spectrum acquisition could have induced a reduction in performance in other stud-

182

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

Table 4
Classication of meat and meat products by NIR spectroscopy sorted by publication year (last decade).
Reference

Meat

Research purpose

Method

(%) Correct
classication

Naes and Hildrum (1997)

Beef

Classication of beef according to tenderness (sensory tenderness, < 3.5 vs. 3.56.5 vs. >
6.5)

Downey and Beauchne


(1997)
Thyholt and Isaksson (1997)

Beef

Discrimination between fresh and frozen-then-thawed beef

PCR, p 6
BC, p 3
DLPC, p 3
FDA, p 18

23
60
97
3464

Beef

Differentiation of frozen and unfrozen beef

90100

Park et al. (1998)


Ding and Xu (1999)

Beef
Beef,
Kangaroo

Classication of beef according to tenderness (WBSF, < 6 kg vs. > 6 kg)


Differentiation of beef and kangaroo meat

PCA, PLSR, BC,


KNN,
p 2124
MLR, p 6
MLR, p 5

Ding et al. (1999)

Poultry

Identication of broiler chicken meat from those of local chickens

Ding and Xu (2000)

Beef

Detection of beef hamburger adulteration

Destefanis et al. (2000)


Fumire et al. (2000)
Josell et al. (2000)
Rdbotten et al. (2000)
Rdbotten et al. (2001)
Cozzolino et al.
(2002a),Cozzolino et al.
(2002b)
Alomar et al. (2003)

Beef
Poultry
Pork
Beef
Beef
Beef

Discrimination of beef according to breed and/or muscular hypertrophy


Assessment of origin of chicken meat (slow growing vs. industrial chicken strains)
Determination of RN phenotype in pigs
Differentiation between cow and bull meat
Categorisation of beef according to WB shear force value
Differentiation between beef that originate from different feeding systems (pasture vs.
silage)

Beef

Classication of beef according to breed/ muscle/grading class

Geesink et al. (2003)


Liu et al. (2003)

Pork
Beef

Categorisation of pork according to water holding capacity (drip loss, < 5% vs. > 7%)
Classication of beef into tender and tough classes (WBSF, < 6 kg vs. > 6 kg)

Cozzolino and Murray (2004)


Liu et al. (2004)

Beef
Poultry

Meullenet et al. (2004)

Poultry

Berzaghi et al. (2005)

Poultry

Gangidi, Proctor, Pohlman,


and Meullenet (2005)
Garca-Rey et al. (2005)

Beef

Classication of the meat sample muscles according to the muscle specie


Classication of broiler breasts into tender and tough classes (WBSF, < 7.5 kg vs. >
7.5 kg)
Classication of broiler meat into tender and tough classes (Total shear energy, 6 15 N.s
vs. > 15 N.s)
Differentiation between meat that originated from hens fed the different diets (control
vs. enriched diet: polyunsaturated FA supplements)
Identication of spinal cord-adulterated ground beef

McDevitt et al. (2005)

Dry
cured
ham
Poultry

92100
8293
b

80100
96
b

6398
7982
7586

PLSR,
p 15/15/9
PLSR/MLR
PLSR p 14/
(SIMCA/PCA) p 11
PCR/PLSR
PLSR
SIMCA/PCA
PLSR

79/98/94

MPLSR, p 14

100

PLSR, p 2

87

Classication of ham according to texture/colour (normal vs. defective)

KNN

94/76

PLSR

96/98/a

PLSR,
p 1112/1314
MPLSR, p 23
MPLSR

6073/8093

Berzaghi et al. (2006)


Savenije et al. (2006)

Pork
sausages
Beef
Pork

Andrs et al. (2007)

Lamb

Pla, Hernndez, Ario,


Ramrez, and Daz (2007)
Prieto et al. (2008b)

Rabbit

Classication of chicken carcasses according to: chicken genotype/dietary treatment/


sex
Assessment of origin of the meat mixture in fresh/dry-cured pork sausages (Iberian pigs
vs. standard pigs)
Detection of illegal growth promoters in beef cattle
Differentiation between batches of meat with an on average superior or inferior waterholding capacity
Discrimination between lamb meat samples scored with extreme values for overall
liking parameter by the taste panels according to breed
Discrimination between conventional and organic produced rabbit meat

Beef

Discrimination of adult steers and young cattle ground meat

Ortiz-Somovilla et al. (2005)

CDA, p 13
MLR, PCR, PLSR,
MPLSR, p 17
CDA, KNN,
p 1011
PCA, p 2
PLSR, p 38
ANN, p 7
PCA, p 1
PLSR, p 47
PCA/ SIMCAa
PCR, MPLSRb

89
83100

100
83/96
94/94
74
70
8690

100
b

PCA, 34

PLSR, 9

98

PLSR, 4

100

FA: fatty acid, PCR: principal component regression, BC: Bayes classication, DLPC: distance-based discrimination for local principal components, FDA: factorial discriminant
analysis, PCA: principal component analysis, PLSR: partial least-squares regression, KNN: K nearest neighbour, MLR: multilinear regression, CDA: canonical discriminant
analysis, MPLSR: modied partial least-squares regression, ANN: articial neural network, SIMCA: soft independent modelling of class analogy, p: optimum number of
wavelengths or factors used in the regression equation.
a
Not reliable classication.
b
Acceptable categorisation.

ies (Hoving-Bolink et al., 2005; Meulemans et al., 2003). Hence, to


improve the spectroscopic technique, it is necessary to improve the
repeatability of measuring WHC and to understand in more detail
the rather unspecic reference methods for measuring WHC
(Brndum et al., 2000a).
It is well known that WarnerBratzler Shear Force (WBSF) is closely related to chemical composition of meat samples. Consequently, Barlocco et al. (2006) found relatively high coefcients
of correlation between WBSF values and water absorbance (1400
and 1900 nm) of meat samples and Prieto et al. (2008a) observed

that the absorbance data related to CH molecular bonds in IMF


(13001400 nm). Murray, 1986; Murray & Williams, 1987; Shenk
et al., 1992) found the highest correlation with WBSF values in beef
samples. Intramuscular fat prevents association among bundles of
collagen bres, thus improving the break-up of meat fragments
and reducing toughness (Capillo lvarez & De Arcos Nieto-Guerrero, 2001). However, poor NIR prediction results have been observed in beef (Andrs et al., 2008; Leroy et al., 2003; Park, Chen,
Hruschka, Shackelford, & Koohmaraie, 1998; Ripoll et al., 2008;
Rdbotten et al., 2000; Venel et al., 2001), pork (Chan et al.,

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

2002; Geesink et al., 2003) and poultry meat (Liu et al., 2004); all
these studies showing R2 and RPD values lower than 0.74 and
1.48, respectively (Table 2). There are several reasons for the low
NIR prediction of WBSF. Firstly, a limited variation in the WBSF reference data, especially in pig meat samples, could have reduced the
predictability of shear force measures by NIR. For example, in the
study by Leroy et al. (2003), carcasses were randomly chosen and
not selected on WBSF values, so that the samples showed low variability in shear force. Meulemans et al. (2003) indicated that the
models could be improved by using a larger number of samples
to increase the range of reference values.
Secondly, Chan et al. (2002) found a large variation among subsample shear force measurements on a single meat chop, suggesting that NIR performance might be improved if lack of precision in
the reference data could be avoided. However, this seems very difcult when WBSF is used as the reference method (Barlocco et al.,
2006). An alternative to WBSF could be the measurement of slice
shear force (SSF). Shackelford, Wheeler, and Koohmaraie (1999)
showed that SSF was more repeatable and strongly correlated with
tenderness assessed by a trained taste panel than was WBSF. Unlike the WarnerBratzler method, SSF used only one slice instead
of eight cores and it is simpler to obtain one uniform sample slice
than eight small circular cores. In addition, the meat does not need
to be cooled before testing, so that the SSF measurements can be
taken more quickly, which has benets in commercial applications.
Furthermore, sample presentation to the instrument is a limiting factor to obtaining reliable NIR predictions of WBSF measurements. Meulemans et al. (2003), De Marchi et al. (2007), Prieto
et al. (2008a) and Ripoll et al. (2008) reported no reliable NIR predictions of WBSF measurements, probably because they used
homogenized samples, which is not adequate for the shear force
meat since the structure of the muscle and the bre arrangements
are severely altered. In contrast, Meullenet, Jonville, Grezes, and
Owens (2004) found good predictions for WBSF (R2 = 0.92,
RPD = 2.16, Table 2) in poultry meat samples, probably because
the meat samples were scanned in the intact form instead of being
homogenized. Geesink et al. (2003) indicated that scanning the
meat sample over a larger area to reduce the sampling error (Downey & Hildrum, 2004), could improve the prediction of tenderness
(WBSF) by NIR spectroscopy.
Based on published results, NIR spectroscopy shows only limited ability for assessing the technological quality of meat. From
our point of view, better control of all the factors inuencing the
spectral data and the precision of the reference method might improve the predictive performance of the NIR-models regarding
technological traits.
2.3. Sensory attributes
The most important sensory characteristics determining the
acceptability of meat are appearance (colour, shape and marbling),
odour, avour, juiciness, tenderness or rmness (Hofmann, 1993).
All these characteristics are related to the interactions of many
chemical and physical properties, even so their prediction by NIR
spectroscopy has been attempted. However, many problems have
been found in predicting sensory attributes (R2 = 0.0030.69,
RPD = 0.571.67; Table 3). Liu et al. (2003, 2004) and Andrs
et al. (2007) pointed out that a narrow range of intensity scores
for sensory attributes might have reduced the precision and accuracy of NIR predictions. All the lambs studied by Andrs et al.
(2007) were grazed on the same pastures, nished at a xed live
weight and condition score and all the samples were aged for the
same period of time. These factors may have resulted in high
homogeneity and thus low variability in the samples, so that assessors could not nd clear differences among samples. In addition,
scanned tissue samples (which were frozen pre-rigor before being

183

scanned) were not strictly the same samples tasted by the panelists (which were aged for seven days, then frozen). Another possible factor reducing NIR predictability of these parameters is the
assignment of colour and marbling scores based on the appearance
of the whole cut area of the samples, whereas the surface scanned
is much smaller (Chan et al., 2002). Byrne, Downey, Troy, and
Buckley (1998), Rdbotten et al. (2000) and Venel et al. (2001)
showed that the prediction of sensory characteristics could be improved if the samples of the group of animals to be tested were divided into more specic sub-groups according to criteria such as
breed and sex. In addition, Andrs et al. (2007) obtained an
improvement in R2 when the extreme samples for the sensory
characteristic overall liking were selected; however, the R2 values were still mostly below 0.8, a value that might be considered
as the lowest threshold for the accuracy of prediction. These ndings make it clear that the assessors could discriminate among the
most extreme samples whereas it seems improbable that they can
detect small changes in any of the sensory parameters.
Conversely to the previous studies, the calibration models described by Ripoll et al. (2008) for sensory tenderness in beef
(R2 = 0.98, RPD = 3.82), Brndum, Byrne, Bak, Bertelsen, and Engelsen (2000b) for taste in pork (R2 = 0.88, RPD = 2.71) and Garca-Rey,
Garca-Olmo, De Pedro, Quiles-Zafra, and De Castro (2005) for pastiness in ham (R2 = 0.94, RPD = 1.99) were satisfactory (Table 3). The
wide range of sensory data in these studies might have contributed
to the good calibration performances. In particular, Ripoll et al.
(2008) used many different breeds and cross-breeds with different
rates of maturity as well as a wide range of carcass conformations
and fatness grades, which resulted in high variability in sensory
characteristics.
In summary, sensory characteristics are complex traits affected
by the subjectivity of the assessors; even when they are well
trained (Warriss, 2004). Thus, the low predictability of NIR technique for sensory attributes is probably due to the subjective, inaccurate, or highly variable nature of the conventional noncontinuous measurements (scores) that are used as the basis for
developing the prediction equation. To account for non-continuous
measurements of sensory scores, Prevolnik et al. (2004) indicated
that different statistical approaches such as neural networks might
improve the predictability of NIR.
2.4. Classication into meat quality grades
As shown in Table 4, there are many studies in the last decade
indicating that NIR spectroscopy is a powerful tool for categorisation of meat and meat products on the basis of quality; percentages of samples classied correctly being between 80 and 100 in
most cases. The NIR technique has been able to classify successfully beef and poultry meat according to tenderness (Liu et al.,
2003, 2004; Meullenet et al., 2004; Naes & Hildrum, 1997; Park
et al., 1998; Rdbotten, Mevik, & Hildrum, 2001), pork according
to water holding capacity (Geesink et al., 2003; Savenije et al.,
2006) and ham according to texture/colour (Garca-Rey et al.,
2005).
Ding et al. (1999) and Fumire, Sinnaeve, and Dardenne (2000)
achieved a successful classication of broiler strains (slow-growing
and industrial), which was supported by physical (pH and chromatic values or surface characteristics of breast skin and muscle,
such as bre size) and chemical properties of meat samples (collagen and fat contents). Moreover, McDevitt et al. (2005) reported
that scattering effects due to variations in fat content of different
genotypes or dietary treatments could have provided the basis to
classify chicken carcasses according to genotype or dietary treatment. However, discrimination between male and female birds
was not so clear, probably because all the birds used in the study
were sexually immature.

184

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

Ding and Xu (1999) and Cozzolino and Murray (2004) stated


that chemical and physical characteristics such as moisture, pigments, intramuscular fat, polyunsaturated fatty acids, texture and
other characteristics (e.g. muscle structure, type of muscle bres)
could explain the discrimination among meat samples from different species (beef, kangaroo, lamb, pork and chicken). In the last
study, spectral bands between 2200 and 2300 nm were related to
unsaturated @CH and C@C groups, suggesting that differences
in the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids might have contributed to differentiation of muscle from different species (Murray,
1986). The same reason suggested by Andrs et al. (2007) to explain the successful discrimination between lamb breeds. Additionally, Destefanis, Barge, Brugiapaglia, and Tassone (2000),
Cozzolino et al. (2002a), Cozzolino, Martins, and Murray (2002b)
and Rdbotten et al. (2000) demonstrated that differences in
chemical composition or physical properties (lightness, shear force,
etc.) of meat samples made it possible to successfully classify beef
samples according to breed and/or muscular hypertrophy, feeding
system or sex.
Moreover, Downey and Beauchne (1997) discriminated between fresh and frozen-then-thawed beef, by a baseline shift induced by freezethawing. A gross change in total reectance
after freezing-and-thawing was observed due to alterations in
the physical structure of at least the surface layer of meat. Thyholt
and Isaksson (1997) differentiated successfully (90100%, Table 4)
frozen and unfrozen beef samples as a consequence of properties
related to drip loss, irreversible denaturization and physical damage of myobril proteins. Finally, NIR spectra and neural networks
allowed Josell, Martinsson, Borggaard, Andersen, and Tornberg
(2000) to classify pigs according to the presence or absence of
RN phenotype (Rendement Napole gen), which is responsible
for increased muscle glycogen content.
It must be stressed that one of the most useful applications of
NIR is the detection of meat products, which may be fraudulent
for any reason. For example, the identication of meat mixtures
in fresh/dry-cured pork sausages (Iberian pigs vs. standard pigs;
Ortiz-Somovilla, Espaa-Espaa, De Pedro-Sanz, & Gaitn-Jurado,
2005) and the detection of beef hamburger adulteration (Ding &
Xu, 2000) have been reliably identied using NIR spectroscopy.
According to Ding and Xu (2000), unadulterated beef hamburgers
and those adulterated with mutton, pork, skim milk powder or
wheat our could be correctly classied due to differences in composition (mainly water or fat content), WHC and emulsion stability. Additionally, Berzaghi, Segato, Cozzi, and Andrighetto (2006)
demonstrated that NIR spectra can be used for detection of illegal
growth promoters in beef cattle; in fact, a lower crude protein content and a higher value of lightness in treated calves can be shown,
since growth promoters affect the metabolism of growing animals.

3. Application of NIR spectroscopy in the industry


Recent developments of NIR instruments have increased the
suitability of NIR spectroscopy for predicting meat quality at processing speed. However, the rst application of NIR spectroscopy
under industrial conditions (on-line) was reported by Isaksson, Nilsen, Tgersen, Hammond, and Hildrum (1996) for estimation of fat,
moisture and protein in small ground beef samples on a conveyor
using a diffuse NIR instrument set at the outlet of the meat grinder.
Thereafter, Tgersen, Isaksson, Nielsen, Baker, and Hildrum (1999)
and Tgersen et al. (2003) extrapolated this concept to estimate
the chemical composition of beef and pork in industrial scale
batches and in semi-frozen raw meat, respectively. The latter
application has been widely used in the industry due to mismatches between supply and demand of raw meat in the market.
Moreover, Anderson and Walker (2003) estimated successfully

the fat content in ground beef in the moving stream of meat


formed by a grinder equipped with a custom forming head. This
indicates that in spite of the uneven surface of moving meat, which
is a problem during on-line monitoring of ground beef on a conveyor belt, NIR spectroscopy can predict fat content under on-line
industry conditions. According to Downey and Hildrum (2004), the
major source of on-line NIR sampling error is the fact that light
penetrates only a few millimetres into the high water meat, and
thus only a small fraction of the overall meat ow can be monitored. However, the longer the measurements are recorded, the
more representative the NIR measurements will be for the whole
batch of meat. A low ow rate and large batch size will increase
the overall size of the NIR sample.
A NIR instrument with a diode array detector was used for inline monitoring of the proximal composition of sixty batches of
coarsely ground beef on a conveyor belt (Hildrum, Nilsen, Westad,
& Wahlgren, 2004). The diode array NIR instruments are able to
scan all wavelengths in a few milliseconds, thus allowing measurements over large meat surface areas on each batch under industrial
conditions. In addition, Brndum et al. (2000a), Forrest et al. (2000),
Venel et al. (2001), Leroy et al. (2003) and Hoving-Bolink et al.
(2005) used a bre-optic probe on intact carcasses to estimate
chemical, technological and sensory attributes. Despite the rough
environment at the slaughterhouses with changing temperatures
and humidity, bre-optic probes signicantly improved the ability
of the NIR technique to monitor and control these processes; showing NIR to be a suitable technique to predict simultaneously numerous meat quality criteria online under industry conditions.
4. Conclusions and future outlook
NIR spectroscopy has considerable potential to predict simultaneously several meat chemical properties and to categorize meat
into quality classes. Therefore, NIR is a suitable alternative to analytical procedures, which can be time-consuming, expensive and
sometimes hazardous to health or the environment. On the contrary, NIR spectroscopy has only limited ability for estimating technological and sensory attributes of meat, mainly due to the
heterogeneity of the meat samples (especially those in the intact
form) and the low precision of the reference method (e.g., WBSF).
Additionally, the sensory attributes obtained in taste panels are affected by the subjectivity of the assessors and only extreme samples (sensory scores deviating substantially from the mean) seem
to be clearly differentiated by panellists. Consequently, better
NIR calibrations for these technological and sensory characteristics
are required, mainly with respect to a better sampling procedure
and improvement of the precision of the reference methods.
Recently, researchers and analysts are looking for wavelengths
at which NIR measures are closely associated with the characteristics of meat quality. By understanding these critical wavelengths, it
is possible to obtain more robust calibrations and to develop simple and low-cost instruments using only these wavelengths. Furthermore, the use of bre-optic probes may improve the ability
of NIR to monitor and control meat processing using remote on/
in line detection.
NIR spectroscopy will become more widely used in the meat
industries as more attention is given to reduce errors in reference
methods, more robust calibrations are developed by using larger
sample sets showing wide ranges in reference values and transfer
of calibration models is facilitated for commercial applications.
Acknowledgement
N. Prieto is grateful to the Ministry of Science and Innovation
(MICINN), Spain, for nancial assistance via a post-doctoral grant.

N. Prieto et al. / Meat Science 83 (2009) 175186

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