Consumption of Iberian pig meat is traditional in Spain as an exponent of good taste and maximum gastronomic quality. In the last years, a booming economic sector is growing around such animal species, already exceeding the Spanish borders: Iberian ham, dried meat, cold meats and cold cuts are already been exported all over the world.
Up to now, they had been using methods based on traditional processes like tasting and genetic assessment by means of molecular analysis methods to assess the quality and purity of Iberian pig meat and its possible contamination with other less-valuable breeds. Scientists of the University of Granada (departments of Pathological Anatomy and Chemical Engineering) have developed new techniques by combining technologies from different scientific and technical fields, which allow an immediate classification of Iberian pig meat, guaranteeing the quality of these products.
Different articles published in the “Journal of Food Engineering” and a doctoral thesis support the recognition of the new advances. More than four years of work have led to the reading of the thesis “New computer applications for the classification of Iberian pig meat by using morphometry and spectral reflectance”, by Fernando García del Moral Martín, under the la direction of doctors Francisco O’Valle Ravassa and Leopoldo Martínez Nieto.Combined techniques
Second, the study has developed non-invasive techniques with a high analysis potential, such as spectral reflectance in the visible range and close infrared of the spectrum. They have worked with 30 porcine animals, 15 of white breed and 15 more of pure Iberian breed. They have carried out, in all of them, the quantification of the spectral reflectance on the masseter muscle of the animal’s jawbone”.
Thanks to the combination of spectral radiometry and artificial vision techniques conceived in this doctoral thesis, they have been able to design computer samples of neuronal networks which correctly classify the meat samples, in all cases, with a success rate over 97%.
At present, they are carrying out a more advanced study with 66 Iberian pigs applying the above mentioned techniques in order to identify the genetic purity of the Iberian phenotype expressed in animals, as well as to improve the control, security and quality levels in the productive chain according to the “from the farm to the table” philosophy.
Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
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