Feasibility Analysis of a Novel Method for Bovine Carcase Fat Thickness Estimation

Mueller, Karl (2018) Feasibility Analysis of a Novel Method for Bovine Carcase Fat Thickness Estimation. [USQ Project]


Meat fat content is an important metric for selling beef products in various national and international markets. While the Australian meat processing industry has kept up with recent advancements in measurement technologies, these measurement devices are prohibitively expensive for many smaller processors.

Devices have been developed, or are in the development process to measure fat thickness of cattle using many different technologies including using ultrasound, X-ray, and near infrared or visible light. Existing measurement devices have deficiencies and limitations which can be addressed. Some devices are focussed on testing live animals before slaughter, some are focussed on performing objective grading – which is prediction of additional qualities about the meat such as tenderness or prediction of portion fat content – and some require a high degree of competency to operate, and others are destructive and need direct contact with the carcase.

The aim of this project is to select the most suitable novel measurement technology from a number of different non-destructive measurement technologies, and then determine the feasibility of using that selected technology for the measurement of beef carcase fat thickness.

Five novel technologies were selected, evaluated and compared. The most suitable technology was found to be near infra-red backscattering. This technology was selected because it overcame all the deficiencies of current technologies, and was suitable to be used in industry. An experiment was designed and developed to determine its feasibility for actually measuring fat thickness.

The experiments developed as part of this project were used to test several different beef fat samples of known thickness. It was found that inconsistencies within the samples caused by their preparation, prior processing, handling and ageing all contributed to inconsistent results.

The experiment was also used to test samples that were not beef fat, but very close in composition to beef fat. These samples of sliced, processed cheese were more consistent and therefore generated better results. Through these results it was shown that the technology of near infra-red backscattering is feasible to measure the thickness of organic substances, and further research and development, including the use of different infra-red laser wavelengths, will be able to overcome the issues that prevented consistent results when testing actual beef fat samples.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Leis, John
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechatronic)
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2022 05:31
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 01:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: novel measurement technology; bovine carcase; fat thickness
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40675

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