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Sensor to measure the degree of meat ageing


Key words Meat ageing, anisotropy, impedance, muscle, electrode
Latest version 2013/09/05
Completed by INRA - IATE

How does it work?

Primary objective Quick and reliable method to measure the degree of meat ageing.
Working principle The ageing of meat is an enzymatic and physicochemical phenomenon, which occurs at markedly different rates, depending on the animal species and muscle considered. This variability causes economic problems, notably in terms of very high storage costs.

There is a linear correlation between the anisotropy (dependency of direction considered) of electrical impedance and the mechanical resistance of muscle fiber, i.e. the degree of meat ageing. A non-invasive sensor has been developed, that measures this anisotropy, of meat at a given moment. (1)(2)(3)

This sensor is connected to an electronic device, which processes the electrical anisotropy measurement signal thanks to MAEL software (1). The measure is effective and reliable whatever the orientation of the axis of muscle fibers with reference to the sensor electrodes is.

Additional effects This is a non-invasive method.

The measurement cannot be used for assessing another property.

Important process parameters The sensor is made up of numerous measurement electrodes with a specific geometric arrangement; as a consequence, the user can place the sensor as a whole in any position on the product (1).
Important product parameters

What can it be used for?

Products cut meat & fish (all kinds; end or intermediary product)
Operations Quality control
Solutions for short comings • Quick quality control of meat

• Reduction of losses / waste

What can it NOT be used for?

Products • Dried meat

• To be tested and adapted to other products than fresh meat & fish.

Operations The sensor should be used for quality control only.
Other limitations not known
Risks or hazards no


Maturity The sensor is patented for France and Europe, and licenses are available through INRA Transfert. No license has been exploited so far (December 2012).
Modularity /Implementation This technology comes besides the existing production lines (quality control).
Consumer aspects Consumers are interested in finding meat of quality (associated to the degree of meat ageing) whatever the technology used to determine it.
Legal aspects The sensor is patented for France and Europe.

MAEL software is filed with the Agency for the Protection of Programs.

Environmental aspects • Low energy consumption

• Reduced waste of meat

Further Information

Institutes INRA - QuaPA, Franceagrimer
Companies Interbev, INRA Transfert
References 1. Lepetit J., Damez J.L., Clerjon S., Favier R., Abouelkaram S. and Dominguez B. 2006. Multi-electrode sensor for measuring the electric anisotropy of a biological material and the use of said sensor. WO2006070169 (A1) , FR0453206

2. Madesn N.T., Rasmussen A.J., Borggaard C. and Nielsen T. 2001. Apparatus and method for measuring the content of intramuscular fat in carcasses or parts thereof. US6265882 (B1)

3. Elvira Canas J., Riu Costa P., Rosell Ferrer X. and Bragos Bardia R. 2002. Method and apparatus for obtaining physical and/or chemical characteristics of a biological medium. EP1253423 (A2)

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Created by Hte inra on 7 December 2012, at 15:49