Investigation of the physico-chemical and microstructure changes of beef meat during frozen storage at −23°C
Freezing beef meat is the most effective way to extend its storage life. However, there is little information about whether this practice alters the microstructure of beef and its effects on meat quality. For this reason, the object of our research was to determine the effect of frozen storage (one year at −23°C, with meat examined every two months) on physical, chemical and microstructural properties of beef in cuts of 20 Biceps femoris muscles. Significant physical changes were detected at different frozen storage durations, including increases in pH and yellowing (b*), as well as decreases in water activity, lightness (L*), and redness (a*). In terms of chemical characteristics, the protein solubility in the beef reduced, but lipid oxidation (TBARS) values considerably rose with frozen storage duration. The width of ice crystals in frozen
beef steadily increased as storage time was extended to 12 months, indicating structural changes in the frozen meat.