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Beef Stored Under LED Lights Stays Red Longer
Researchers from College of Agriculture Food & Natural Resources at the University of Missouri have found that hamburger meat stored under LED lights retains its red color longer than it does under incandescent bulbs. Despite having no nutritional difference, consumers associate this red color with the freshness of ground beef. The red color gradually turns brown over time. Carol Lorenzen, a professor of meat science, pointed out that the red color of the ground beef is the one of the primary driver’s of consumer choice.

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Professor Lorenzen and her graduate student, Jade Cooper, have examined the impact of LED lighting on beef color. The team published a paper in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of Animal Science. The research paper mainly explained how keeping ground beef under LED lights as opposed to incandescent bulbs can slow down the redness-discoloration (oxidation) process in hamburger meat. The team compared the redness of the ground beef under LED lights to ground beef kept under conventional incandescent bulbs. They also tested storage under no light as a negative control.

The researchers found that ground beef stored under no light retained its red color the longest. However, this is not an option when selling meat, because consumers have to see the meat they buy.

They examined the color of ground beef patties that were both five and 25 percent fat at one, three, five, and seven-day intervals. The team also tested the patties for concentrations of lipid oxidation and myoglobin. Lipid oxidation is a primary cause of quality deterioration that can lead to rancidity or off flavor in fatty or raw tissues. Myoglobin is the protein responsible for the meat’s color. The deli cases were kept at temperatures near two degrees Celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit) during the experiment. Funding for the study came via a grant from the Missouri Beef Industry Council.

The more discoloration occurred, the longer the samples were stored in the display cases. By the fifth day, the more red color of the LED-lit patties was noticeable compared to those under fluorescent lights. The patties under LEDs also had had less oxidation of color and fat, giving them extra display shelf life.

Source: solidstatelighting

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