Changes in tissue structure and rheological properties of sea cucumber meat during different heating temperature were studied. Tissue structure was observed using an optical microscope and scanning electron micrograph, and its characteristic values (Wm, Dm, Rm, C*) were enumerated using image processing and analysis technique. Rheological properties (E0, τ1, η1, rupture strength) and Texture profile analysis (TPA) parameters were obtained by stress-relaxation experiment and texture profile analysis experiment. The results indicated that the structure in heated samples had greatly changes comparing with the raw sample. Muscle fibers in heated samples shrank and subsequently reassembled, and the voids in muscular tissue tended to expand with heating temperature. The characteristic values (Dm and C*) gradually increased with heating temperature, however the Wm and Rm showed irregular change. Rheological properties (E0 and rupture strength) in heated samples were smaller than those in the raw samples and expressed the largest value at 70°C; however τ1 and η1 gradually increased with heating temperature. Rheological properties (E, τ, η and rupture strength) are mainly correlated with the characteristic values (Dm and C*). These results confirmed that the changes in texture and rheological properties of sea cucumber meat were caused by thermal denaturation of proteins.
Key words: Sea cucumber, structure, rheological properties and thermal denaturation.
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