Pectoralis muscle quality was evaluated from 18-wk-old tom turkeys after electrical stun, carbon dioxide stun, or no stun methods were applied. Color was measured on raw muscle and cooked meat using a colorimeter. Muscle pH was measured 15 min post-mortem (initial), 24 h post-mortem (final), and after cooking. The right Pectoralis muscle of each carcass was excised for m-calpain analysis within 4 min post-mortem. After 24 h of storage at 4 C, the left Pectoralis muscle was excised to determine cook loss and shear force measurements. No significant difference was found in initial muscle pH (15 min) from turkeys receiving electrical or carbon dioxide stunning, 6.36+/-0.15 and 6.20+/-0.14, respectively. However, initial muscle pH for birds that were not stunned (5.99+/-0.08) was lower (P < 0.05) than the muscle pH of birds stunned using either of the two stunning methods. Stunning method had no effect on the final muscle pH, raw muscle color, cooked meat pH, cooked meat color, cook loss, or shear force. Cook loss was found to positively correlate with initial muscle lightness (r = 0.53), and cooked meat lightness (r = 0.48), but to negatively correlate with cooked meat yellowness (r = -0.48) and shear strength (r = -0.43). m-Calpain activity declined with the stunning methods in the following order: electrical > carbon dioxide > no stun. In addition, m-calpain activity was found to correlate with initial muscle pH (r = 0.95) and with cooked meat shear force (r = -0.43). The results of this study show that electrical stunning, carbon dioxide stunning, and no stunning methods provide comparable cooked turkey breast meat quality with no consistent differences after aging on the carcass for 24 h.
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