Quantitative characterizations of visual fibrousness in meat analogues using automated image analysis

Yizhou Ma, Miek Schlangen, Jelle Potappel, Lu Zhang, Atze Jan van der Goot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A desirable quality of plant-based meat analogues is to resemble the fibrous structure of cooked muscle meat. While texture analysis can characterize fibrous structures mechanically, assessment of visual fibrous structures remains subjective. Quantitative assessment of visual fibrous structures of meat analogues relies on expert knowledge, is resource-intensive, and time-consuming. In this study, a novel image-based method (Fiberlyzer) is developed to provide automated, quantitative, and standardized assessment of visual fibrousness of meat analogues. The Fiberlyzer method segments fibrous regions from 2D images and extracts fiber shape features to characterize the fibrous structure of meat analogues made from mung bean, soy, and pea protein. The computed fiber scores (the ratio between fiber length and width) demonstrate a strong correlation with expert panel evaluations, particularly on a per-formulation basis (r2 = 0.93). Additionally, the Fiberlyzer method generates fiber shape features including fiber score, fiber area, and the number of fiber branches, facilitating comparisons of structural similarity between meat analogue samples and cooked chicken meat as a benchmark. With a simple measurement setup and user-friendly interface, the Fiberlyzer method can become a standard tool integrated into formulation development, quality control, and production routines of plant-based meat analogue. This method offers rapid, cheap, and standardized quantification of visual fibrousness, minimizing the need for expert knowledge in the process of quality control.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Texture Studies
Volume55
Issue number1
Early online date30 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • fibrous structure
  • image analysis
  • meat analogues
  • quality control
  • rapid method

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