New method to measure the quality of meat with ultraviolet light

A new and more efficient method to assess meat quality through a spectroscopy technique has been developed by a group of researchers at the University of Sechenov who talk about a faster and cheaper method. The new method is based on the exposure of the meat itself to ultraviolet light and the measurement of the emission spectrum.

The study, published in the Journal of Biophotonics, speaks of a more than sufficient precision to assess the standard quality of edible meat, an operation that usually has to be done with more complicated techniques that involve the analysis of various aspects, from color to fiber structure to weight, etc.. In any case, while taking these various factors into account, the assessment that follows usually remains somewhat subjective.

This new method, based on fluorescence spectroscopy, could prove to be a more standard alternative because it allows detecting the levels of various compounds within the flesh which emit light at a specific frequency range. Among these substances there are also those made of organic molecules and it is, therefore, possible to evaluate the percentage levels of connective tissue or fatty acids, to give an example.

In the tests carried out by the researchers, the latter exposed the meat samples to light with a wavelength between 250 and 350 nanometres (the near and medium ultraviolet) and then measured the fluorescence spectrum. With this technique, the researchers were able to distinguish various types of meat and the various ratios between the amount of muscle and fat tissue, and were able to select the highest quality meat from lower-quality meat.

“This work shows the new opportunities to objectively assess meat quality through LED lighting and optical tissue response recording,” the researchers say in their press release.

The method may prove useful not only for meat professionals but also in medicine and biomedical research as a possible method for non-invasive and painless diagnostics, as Anna Guller, senior author of the study, explains.