The characterization and incidence of pale, soft, exudative turkey meat in a commercial plant

Poult Sci. 2000 Apr;79(4):553-8. doi: 10.1093/ps/79.4.553.


Pale, soft, exudative (PSE) turkey meat is a growing problem for industry and has been associated with rapid postmortem pH decline and loss of protein functionality, similar to PSE pork. This study was designed to estimate the incidence of PSE meat in a commercial plant and use response surface methodology to characterize the relationship between pH, lightness (L* value), and water-holding capacity (WHC). One hundred thirty-four turkey breast fillets were selected from the processing line so that 67 had normal color (lightness), and the other 67 were more pale than normal. Fillets were analyzed at time of deboning (1.5 h postmortem) and at 24 h postmortem for color (L* value), pH, drip loss, expressible moisture, and temperature. Additionally, L* values were measured on 2,995 turkey breasts from the processing line to determine the commercial incidence of PSE meat based on color. The pale fillets had significantly lower pH, greater L* value, and less WHC but equal temperature when compared with the fillets with normal color. The L* value and pH were correlated with WHC as measured by expressible moisture, but L* value seems to have more predictive value. By using the L* value range (>53) from the pale-selected fillets as an indication of paleness, approximately 40% of the 2,995 fillets would exhibit poor WHC. These results suggest that PSE meat can represent a significant portion of commercially processed turkey breast meat and that the L* value measurement could be used to sort turkey meat so that PSE type meat could be used in specialized formulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Water
  • Color
  • Exudates and Transudates
  • Food Handling*
  • Food Industry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Meat*
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Quality Control
  • Turkeys*