Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition

Committee Chair/Advisor

George A. Cavender

Committee Member

Annel K. Greene

Committee Member

Anthony Pometto III

Committee Member

W. Scott Whiteside


Sous vide cooking has the potential to increase the value of lower quality cuts of beef. Understanding the textural properties following a cook-chill sous vide process is crucial to maximizing this potential. The use of enzymes may further increase the value of these products if able to positively alter the texture of the final product.

The first research objective was to use instrumental texture analysis to evaluate potential relationships between enzymatic treatments and sous vide processing time of lower value cuts of beef. Three cuts were evaluated: infraspinatus (top blade), semitendinosus (eye of round), and beef tongue. Infraspinatus and semitendinosus samples were sous vide cooked at 60°C for 4, 8, or 12 hours. The beef tongue was sous vide cooked at 60°C for 36, 48, 60, and 72 hours. Samples were treated with papain (EC or bromelain (EC Warner Bratzler Shear Force (WBSF) and Texture Profile Analysis (TPA) were performed on each treatment. Significant differences (P ≤ 0.05) were observed in the WBSF values of toughness and firmness between sous vide processing times and enzymatic treatments. TPA results indicated significant differences (P ≤ 0.05) between sous vide processing time and enzymatic treatment for hardness, adhesiveness, springiness, cohesiveness, and chewiness. A qualitative test was conducted to estimate the remaining enzymatic activity following the different sous vide processing times.

The objective of the sensory study was to evaluate potential consumer opinions and preferences of semitendinosus (eye of round) sous vide and treated with papain and bromelain. The untreated samples were cooked with sous vide at 60°C for either 4 or 8 hours. Samples were also treated with 0.075% w/w papain or bromelain and cooked via sous vide for 4 hours. A non-sous vide cooked sample was prepared by searing to an internal temperature of 60°C to match the doneness of the sous vide cook. A hedonic sensory panel was conducted with 51 consumers, scoring the samples on textural properties including juiciness, tenderness, cohesiveness, mouthfeel, flavor, and overall texture. Significant decreases (P ≤ 0.05) in the panelist scores of enzymatically treated samples for parameters of cohesiveness, mouthfeel, and overall texture were observed. A ranked preference test with 54 untrained panelists was conducted using the same treatments. The samples were ranked for preference (1=most preferred, 5=least preferred) to gain insight into consumer acceptance. The non-enzymatically treated samples were significantly ranked higher (P ≤ 0.01) than the enzymatically treated samples. Future investigation into doneness level, final preparation method, and enzyme treatment levels needs to be conducted to find an enzymatic treatment acceptable for use in a sous vide cook-chill process. Currently, the enzymatically treated samples were found unacceptable by consumers at the dosage of enzyme used in this research. It is evident that the application of cysteine proteases is an effective method of altering the texture of sous vide beef, however, more research needs to be conducted to identify optimal enzymatic treatments.



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