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Dairy and Meat Technology

OBJECTIVES 

The prime purpose of livestock agriculture is to harvest milk and meat. In Pakistan, until recent past, handling, processing and marketing of these two very important and premium agricultural produce has been a low priority area. A deeper analysis has shown that their monetary worth is many times more than that of whole crop sector. Realizing this importance, the Animal Sciences Institute has carved a new section viz., Dairy and Meat Technology Program with a mandate of value addition through improved milk and meat handling / processing technologies. Under this mandate the program is working, while focusing on smallholders and processors, to develop better alternates of indigenous technologies and practices or make them more efficient and organize result-oriented trainings thereby generating better economic opportunities. A successful cottage or small-scale milk and /or meat processing unit can alleviate poverty and enhanced quality of life for low income groups, bringing prosperity, improving health and nutritional status of the community at large. The objectives of program are:

1.     To develop market-oriented value added dairy and meat product technologies.

2.     To promote adoption of identified strategies for improving smallholders’ profitability.

3.     To build capacity of smallholders engaged in supply chain of dairy and meat products.

FACILITIES 

1.     Analyzer for large scale milk sample analyses.

2.     Microbial/sensorial profiles of milk/meat products.

3.     Adulterant detection facility.

4.     Dairy product preparation installations.

5.     Biofermentor for starter propagation.

6.     Freeze drying of starters.

7.     Dairy starter repository.

8.     Other ancillaries for testing dairy/meat products.

SERVICES 

Analytical services: These are available for individual or an enterprise which includes routine milk compositional analysis and product testing including microbial and sensorial profiles etc.

Milk testing and product preparation training: A demand-driven training facility is available to those interested in small/cottage scale dairy product business.  Capacity building training etc can also be organized for middle level workforce engaged in dairy sector supply chain.

Internship training: University graduates are accepted for their professional internship training in various specialties of dairy technology.

Graduate research: Post-graduate students from public sector universities are accepted with prior consent for their thesis research in the field of dairy chemistry, microbiology, product quality and processing technology etc.

CURRENT RESEARCH 

  • Extending keeping quality of dairy products
  • Improving dairy products to new level of nutrition and value addition
  • Identification of yogurt starter strains using PCR technology
  • Identification and authentication of meat and meat products
  • Improving broiler meat supply chain by pre-slaughter feed withdrawal

Extending Keeping Quality of Dairy Products:

Yoghurt and cottage cheese are high moisture products and are, therefore, prone to spoilage / contamination by pathogenic or product spoiling microorganisms during servable period. Such contamination can result in food-borne illness or render product unfit for human consumption due to apparent spoilage. Conventional chemical-based preservation is not permissible and / or technically feasible in all cases, particularly that of fermented dairy products. In this situation, ‘natural antimicrobials’ produced by some harmless bacteria to inhibit the growth of similar or closely related strain(s) is a great silver lining. Nisin, natamycin and similar natural compound are effective at very low levels against most food spoiling bacteria and molds. Use of such ‘natural antimicrobials’ is being investigated to extend shelf life and preserve natural goodness of dairy products of yoghurt/dahi and cottage cheese etc. Preliminary findings are very encouraging where by application of natamycin has helped to extended shelf life of yoghurt/dahi by three times.

Improving Dairy Products to New Level of Nutrition and Value Addition:

Cheese makers understand that the sensory value of cheese plays an important role in the consumer's choice. However, it is not only the taste that counts but cheese flavor, as one of the sensory values which is a combination of taste, aroma, heat, cold and tactile sensations also matters equally. It is an important quality attribute, and although the type of milk and manufacturing method play their roles, it is mainly formed during the curing stage or is result of seasoning by additives which are usually natural. . Herbs, spices, condiments etc may be used as seasoning agents. It may also be colored for enhancing appearance. They enhance overall product quality and add further leverage to value added product. They add an exotic flavor and aroma suppressing unwanted taints of animal feed/species-specific characteristics of milk etc. In addition to that, these impart specific color and flecking effects giving novelty to product appearance. Above all, herbs and spices add antioxidant property to the product. . The study under report was initiated to get advantage of our traditional culinary herbs and spices to prepare a traditional white cheese loaded with antioxidant with an objective to bring cheese to a new level of nutrition and value addition. A number of trials were made to prepare traditional white cheese and cheese with added herbs and spices such as cumin, mint, coriander leaves, coriander seeds, black pepper, green pepper, nutmeg, black cardamom etc. Different cheese varieties produced were evaluated by a taste panel. It was observed that generally herbs and spices enhanced sensorial scoring as compared with plain white cheese. Characteristic appearances for certain herb/spices variety was also convincingly novel and assertive for majority consumers. In this regards the most suitable, nutmeg was followed by black cardamom, cumin, black pepper, coriander leaves etc. The technology is further being improved for extending keeping quality and to exploit commercially on better competitive ground.

Identification of Yogurt Starter Strains Using PCR Technology:

The conventional methods used for the identification of yogurt starter strains usually include morphological and biochemical tests. Several biochemical tests have been combined to form kits such as API kit. These tests have, however, poor reproducibility and often give ambiguous results. Sometimes it is very hard to identify an isolate down to the species level using these tests. The alternate is to use genotypic techniques using PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) which are more robust and give accurate results. A project has, therefore, been started to identify the potential yogurt strains using PCR. Primers have been designed to amplify specie specific regions (for Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) of the isolates, and PCR protocols are currently being standardized. It is further planned to identify the selected isolates down to the strain level using RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) technique.

Identification and Authentication of Meat and Meat Products:

Adulteration is a willful act, process or condition to debase, make improve or conceal defects by the addition of foreign or inferior substance especially to prepare for sale by replacing more valuable with less valuable substance or inert material etc. Contrarily, contaminants, pollutants or residues etc are not willfully added to food but may compromise food safety or suitability. In the former situation motive is profiteering whereas in latter profiteering is not the motive but is result of neglect and certain limits of these are considered tolerated. In Pakistan generally public is more aware with adulteration of milk and certain other food commodities. A new menace in line is meat adulteration. With rising cost of meat in Pakistan, incidence of meat adulteration and its quality deterioration is also reported to rising. Additionally, with introduction of ready-to-cook meat based products (usually frozen) in the retail market adulteration can be concealed very easily due to drastic changes in appearance of such products. Meat adulteration is complex and multifarious issue and practiced in many forms such as miss-labeling as regards meat species origin or admixing meat of non Halal animals or meat from animals not slaughtered according to Islamic Shria. In many state run slaughter houses dozens of camels are slaughtered daily but as such its meat is not sold anywhere; it is minced and sold as ready to cook beef kebab. It is moral obligation of the state authorities to protect the sanctity of religious feelings of public apart from scientific need to monitor quality and provide healthy meat food to their citizens. Thus, in order to safeguard consumers’ right of choice for quality and Halal meat, there is dire need to develop reliable and sensitive method to verify local market meat and meat-based products for authentication of their meat species/ source. Molecular method such as PCR-RFLP is an inexpensive and efficient tool to discriminate between species. It is possible to identify the species from unknown material using PCR-RFLP provided that the comparison to the known species is performed on the same gel. These tests in comparison can reveal different specific amplified fragments of pure meat sources for buffalo, goat, cattle and sheep species. This program, in collaboration with Animal Biotechnology Program of the National Institute of Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology of NARC, is working on development of authentic test to detect all sort of species-specific adulteration of meat. Utilization of proposed technology, it is envisaged, will help food authorities to better monitor the quality of market meats and meat products thereby helping to prevent emergence of new menace of  adulteration.

Improving Broiler Meat Supply Chain by Preslaughter Feed Withdrawal:

Contamination of a poultry carcass by gut content is of prime importance as it leads to unhygienic meat quality which may pose a serious threat to meat consumers. In prevailing slaughtering method, whereupon birds are fed at their own pleasures and desires till moment of slaughter, there is a great chance of fecal/gut contamination upon slaughter. Further to that, gut contents whether digested or undigested are direct source of pathogens such as Salmonella (causative agent of typhoid fever) if gut is ruptured during process of evisceration making meat consumption a public health issue for the community. Voiding gut content before slaughtering is one simple plausible option for these problems which is widely practiced in all modern on-line poultry processing plants. In addition to that, slaughter with the feed-full gut means a waste of feed since some of the undigested feed will be thrown away along with viscera. Hence, voiding gut before slaughtering could be dually beneficial. With a hope, that practice of a pre-slaughter feed withdrawal in chickens will not only prevent feed wastage and hence economic losses (estimated to the tune million of rupees yearly) but also reduce risk of carcass/meat contamination, a small scale experiment was conducted which revealed much encouraging results showing average carcass dressing/meat recovery percentage (60.7 and 61.2 in 8 and 12 hours feed withdrawal respectively) not being affected negatively as compared with the control group (without feed withdrawal) in which  meat dressing was found as 60.50 percentage. It was concluded that feed withdrawal is dually beneficial i.e., avoiding feed losses and improving hygiene of broiler carcass. Further large scale trials are being planned.

ACHIEVEMENTS 

Graduate Training, Research and Publication etc:

So far 175 university graduates have completed their professional internship training in various specialties of dairy technology. Similarly, 30 post-graduate students from public sector universities have been supervised for their thesis research leading to MSc and MPhil degree awards in the field of dairy chemistry, microbiology, product quality and technology etc. Further to that more than 50 research articles in peer reviewed journals, 20 extension articles in national print media, 10 book chapters/proceedings/brochures has been published for advancement of technology and promotion of dairy entrepreneurship in the country.

Promoting Entrepreneurship:

Dairy product training, relevant technical services and extension advisories etc, is hallmark of the program and are being extended to farmers, cottage business owners, small producers or processors etc. Hundreds of dairy farmers, individuals and groups from small enterprises and activists associated with government and non-government organizations have been imparted training for cottage-scale dairy product business. Dozens of specialized outreach trainings (from Gilgit to Balochistan, including Sindh and Punjab) were organized in different geographical locations/areas of the country. In addition to that, relevant information and knowledge has been propagated by organizing technical exhibitions and display of products in public gatherings, meetings, agri-fairs etc.

Technological Developments:

  1. Dairy product technology: Importantdefects of indigenous dairy products are inconsistency in quality and lack in process control. Drastic interventions in the form of capital investment and technological inputs, both man and material, are required for improvement. However, to prepare variety of improved indigenous dairy products (such as cheese and yoghurt), remedial R & D work resulted in suitable package of technology which is easily adaptable for cottage / small enterprising.
  2. Low cost spoilage free processing technology: A non-capital intensive milk pasteurization technology has been developed which is simple to install and operate. It is adaptable for processing up to 20 to 300 liters of milk without involvement of any automation and is thus recommended for small farm / cottage dairy business. The heart of this technology is post packing pasteurization instead of post pasteurization packing. The chief advantage is that there is no more problem of post processing contamination, thus minimizing losses in the form of spoiled milk packet return from the market.
  3. Dairy starter technologyOne of the vital ingredients for fermentative dairy products is defined starter culture. Technology & procedure for isolation, identification and propagation of starter has been developed and starter / strains bank has been established providing a base for R & D on dairy starters.
  4. Milk preservation technology: In the presence of poor infrastructure in Pakistan (insufficient road network, lacking cold chain links and frequent power failure) collection and transportation of quality milk is a great challenge. To address this challenge technology for milk preservation by activation of its natural lactoperoxidase system has been standardized / tested and demonstrated which suitable for safe milk collection without chilling/power facilities.

 

SCIENTIFIC STAFF 

S.No.

Name

Designation / Specialization

E-mail/ Phone

1.

Mr. M. Amin Shah

PSO

051-90733957

2.

Mr. Haider Khan

SSO

051-90733958

       

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