Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

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Month Degree Awarded


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Research studies show that an average American consumes 3,400 to 4,500 mg/day of sodium in their diet against the dietary recommendation of 1,500 to 2,300 mg/day. The majority of this sodium comes from processed foods. Excess sodium in the diet can potentially cause health issues such as hypertension, heart attack, kidney failure, and bone problems. The objective of this study is to understand sodium diffusion in a protein model using turkey breast meat and determine the opportunities of its reduction by changing the process conditions and combining table salt with other sodium salts.

Since proteins are a complicated system and there are very few research studies available on meat in this area, it is necessary to understand the trend of sodium diffusion in the meat while cooking in presence of salt at different temperatures followed by analyzing the change in the diffusion in presence of different sodium salts with anions larger than sodium chloride. Since protein denaturation can have impact on the diffusion process, the denaturation profile for turkey breast meat protein was analyzed by Differential Scanning Colorimetry (DSC). The DSC results were visually confirmed by SEM analysis. After obtaining results from DSC and SEM analysis, the processing temperature of 4oC, 23oC, 50oC, 70oC and 90oC was implemented to obtain the diffusion trend before, during, and after protein denaturation. 1-inch meat cubes were cooked in 5% (0.86M/L) salt solution at different time and temperature combinations. Sodium analysis was performed on Ion Selective Electrode (ISE) and the results were confirmed by ICP-OES. This study showed that the sodium content of the processed samples was not proportional to the treatment temperature.

The Study was also conducted to analyze the effects of sodium salts with larger anions than sodium chloride on sodium diffusion during thermal applications. Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Sodium Sulfate and Monosodium Glutamate were incorporated in the study. Sodium content in the samples processed in this salts showed 32-46% reduction compared to those processed in sodium chloride. Since sodium phosphate is widely used in the meat industry, it may have the most potential to partially replace salt. Texture analysis was performed on the samples cooked in sodium chloride and sodium phosphate solutions in order to determine changes in textural properties. A brief sensory test was also conducted with 10 participants to investigate the preference of sodium phosphate incorporation in the meat and to identify any after taste.

First Advisor

Amanda J Kinchla