Magnetic Resonance Imaging to predict the salt content of Iberian ham

November 11, 2016

Researchers from the Meat and Meat Products Research Institute (Instituto de Investigación de Carne y Productos Cárnicos - IProCar) of the University of Extremadura have developed a non-destructive, innocuous method using magnetic resonance, computer vision and statistical calculus that enables one to quantify the salt content of Iberian ham, and classify it according to the degree of penetration of the salt in the muscle. In this way the diffusion of the salt can be monitored during the ham's maturation process. This novel methodology is based on the analysis of images obtained through magnetic resonance, followed by analysis of these images using computer vision algorithms and treatment of the information by data mining.

The salt (sodium chloride) content of the cured ham influences the product's sensory characteristics, texture and flavour. But salt is also a very important parameter from a technological viewpoint, as it is impossible for the maturation process to be conducted without the intervention of this substance. As a result, the conditions of the maturation process must be adapted to the salt content. Salt reduces the activity of water, inhibits the proliferation of micro-organisms and favours the formation of a meat gel. "Manufacturing ham with a very low salt content involves a high technological risk, as it may present significant defects, making it impossible to market in many cases", explains the researcher, Teresa Antequera.

Up until now the meat industry only had destructive methods at its disposal to determine the salt content of ham. These methods are also longer and more expensive for producers. Which is why the work of the UEx researchers is geared towards developing non-destructive measuring methods which enable one to classify, monitor and predict salt content during the maturation process of the ham.

With this new methodology developed by the UEx and offered to companies through the Innovation Service for Products of Animal Origin (Servicio de Innovación de Productos de Origen Animal -- SIPA), the food industry now has an efficient, non-destructive method the results of which are available practically in real time. "We believe that this technique could be extremely useful for the food industry as a form of quality control, because it enables one to determine the evolution of the salt during the maturation process of the ham without taking samples at different times. And it can also be applied for measuring the levels of fat, humidity, colour and other quality parameters in a meat product", says Teresa Antequera.

Data mining to assess Iberian ham

"After viewing the images and using the texture algorithms -- which enable one to objectively define what the image is like -- we extract the data and information that we process using data mining techniques in order to classify and predict the salt content", adds Daniel Caballero, a member of the Food Technology Group.

Data mining refers to a series of processes from the field of Big Data and Knowledge Discovery that allows for the exploration and extraction of information and knowledge from a large volume of data which are initially hidden and cannot be treated with traditional techniques. "In this study we have used two classification techniques: one based on association rules and another on decision trees, and two prediction techniques: isotonic regression and multiple linear regression. These techniques allow for statistical calculations that provide us with results quickly and effectively", Caballero points out.
-end-
This work was made possible thanks to the interdisciplinary collaboration of the researchers Andrés Caro, Pablo García-Rodríguez, María Luisa Durán and María del Mar Ávila from the Media Engineering Group and the researchers Teresa Antequera, Trinidad Pérez-Palacios and Daniel Caballero who belong to the Food Quality and Technology Group, and it was developed within the research line "Quality Assessment of Meat Products using Magnetic Resonance Imaging".

University of Extremadura

Related Magnetic Resonance Articles from Brightsurf:

Topology gets magnetic: The new wave of topological magnetic materials
The electronic structure of nonmagnetic crystals can be classified by complete theories of band topology, reminiscent of a 'topological periodic table.' However, such a classification for magnetic materials has so far been elusive, and hence very few magnetic topological materials have been discovered to date.

KIST develops ambient vibration energy harvester with automatic resonance tuning mechanism
Korean researchers have developed an energy harvester that can generate electric power from ambient vibrations with diverse frequencies through a novel automatic resonance tuning mechanism.

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging findings in competitive college athletes after COVID-19
This study investigated the use of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in competitive college athletes who recovered from COVID-19 to detect myocardial inflammation that would identify high-risk athletes for return to competitive play.

Using magnetic resonance elastography to detect epilepsy
A new study from the Beckman Institute used magnetic resonance elastography to compare the hippocampal stiffness in healthy individuals with those who have epilepsy.

Spintronics: Researchers show how to make non-magnetic materials magnetic
A complex process can modify non-magnetic oxide materials in such a way to make them magnetic.

Manipulating non-magnetic atoms in a chromium halide enables tuning of magnetic properties
The magnetic properties of a chromium halide can be tuned by manipulating the non-magnetic atoms in the material, a team, led by Boston College researchers, reports in the most recent edition of ScienceAdvances.

The magnetic history of ice
The history of our planet has been written, among other things, in the periodic reversal of its magnetic poles.

Single-spin electron paramagnetic resonance spectrum with kilohertz spectral resolution
A high-resolution paramagnetic resonance detection method based on the diamond nitrogen-vacancy (NV) color center quantum sensor was proposed and experimentally implemented by academician DU Jiangfeng from USTC.

Convenient location of a near-threshold proton-emitting resonance in 11B
Polish scientists working in Poland, France and USA explained the mysterious β-delayed proton decay of the neutron halo ground state of 11Be.

Detection of very high frequency magnetic resonance could revolutionize electronics
A team of scientists led by a physicist at the University of California, Riverside, has discovered an electrical detection method for terahertz electromagnetic waves, which are extremely difficult to detect.

Read More: Magnetic Resonance News and Magnetic Resonance Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.