Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Animal Science

Major Professor

Curtis Melton

Committee Members

J. B. McLaren, W. W. Overcast, H. O. Jaynes


The addition of approved phosphates to the brine used in curing pork products is a common practice in the meat industry. However, there is little comparative data available to the phosphate manufacturer and the meat processor with respect to the quality of the finished product as influenced by the various phosphates and phosphate blends produced. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the effects of selected phosphates, alone or in combination, on quality factors and sensory attributes of ham. In each of four replications, 32 packer style hams were randomly allotted to eight equal treatment groups in which the curing brine formulated for a 10% pump contained: (1) No phosphate; (2) 100% sodium tripolyphosphate (STP); (3) 5% sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP) + 95% STP; (4) 10% SHMP + 90% STP; (5) 5% Quadrafos (SQ) + 95% STP; (6) 10% SQ + 90% STP; (7) 10% tetrasodium pyrophosphate (TSPP) + 90% STP; or (8) 20% TSPP + 80% STP. Prior to pumping, each ham was subjectively evaluated for color and firmness, and samples were removed for determination of pH, water holding capacity (WHCj, Hunter color-difference factors, total moisture and ether extract. After pumping and equilibration, hams were cooked and smoked according to commercial procedures to an internal temperature of 62°C. Percent shrink during processing was calculated. A 3 inch thick center slice was removed from each processed ham and cooked to an internal end point temperature of 69°C in a rotary hearth oven which had been preheated to 121°C. Cooking losses for each ham were calculated, and samples were removed for determination of pH, tenderness by shear. Hunter color-difference factors, WHC, total moisture and ether extract. A laboratory panel of nine experienced judges scored the hams for tenderness, juiciness, flavor, color and overall acceptability. Treatment 8 was the least effective (P<0.05) in reducing processing shrink whereas Treatment 3 was the most effective. Processing shrink was higher for hams in Treatments 4, 6 and 8 than for Treatments 3, 5 and 7, respectively. Even though there were significant differences in subjective color and firmness scores of raw hams among treatment groups, there was only one increment between the highest (Treatment 4) and lowest (Treatment 7) scores. Therefore, quality differences were not considered to be great enough to account for all of the differences among treatments. Ham processed without phosphates (Treatment 1) had greater drip (P<0.05) and total cooking losses than phosphate-treated hams. pH of cooked hams was significantly lower than those values for hams processed without phosphates Panelists assigned the lowest scores given for all attributes to hams in Treatment 1. Under the conditions of this study, it was concluded that hams processed with phosphates were more acceptable than those processed without phosphate. Also, those phosphate blends that were detrimental to processing yield were scored high for all palatability factors. There-fore, none of the phosphate treatments was considered superior for maximizing both yield and eating quality.

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