Author(s): McKee SR, Sams AR
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Abstract Heat stress is one of the prominent ante-mortem stressors that elicits pale, soft, and exudative meat characteristics in stress-susceptible pigs. Industry reports of exudative turkey meat increase in the early summer with the onset of prolonged high temperatures. To study the effect of seasonal heat exposure on turkeys, 122 17-wk-old Nicholas tom turkeys were subjected in January either to growth temperatures of 16/24 C (night/day) (control) or to elevated temperatures of 32/38 C (night/day) (heat-stressed, HS). Turkeys were processed at 21 wk of age in a manner simulating commercial conditions. Pectoralis muscle samples were taken at 15 min (prechill), 2 h (postchill), and 24 h and analyzed for R-value, pH, and color. At 2 h, the remaining intact Pectoralis muscle was harvested, aged on ice for 23 h, and analyzed for drip loss and cook loss. Percentage mortality and carcass weights were not significantly different between treatments. By 15 min post-mortem, the HS birds exhibited a faster pH decline and had higher R-values that persisted through 24 h. The HS birds were also paler in color and exhibited increased drip loss and cook loss when compared to controls; however, expressible moisture was not different between treatments. In addition, the HS birds had a higher frequency of abnormal birds than controls when birds were grouped as normal (L* < 53) or abnormal (L* > 53).
This article was published in Poult Sci
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology