Tenderizing Enzymes |
As the name implies, these enzymes are used
to treat tough cuts of meat and make them more acceptable
to consumers. In addition to beef , pork, and chicken, these
enzymes can also be used on seafood such as squid or clams.
Enzymes for Meat Tenderizing
suggested reading: Meat
Tenderizing Enzymes, a brief discussion
of Meat Tenderizing Enzymes in Marinades
( presentation recording from Prepared Foods e-learning center:
Beef , Fact Sheet from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Protease from the fruit of pineapple (Ananas comosus)
characterized by its controlled selective hydrolysis over
a wide range of conditions.
PANOL® PURIFIED PAPAIN
Purified, standardized, soluble papain powder obtained from
the fruit of papaya (Carica). Will rapidly hydrolyze
a variety of proteins over a wide range of conditions.
Specially formulated liquid papain.
ENZECO® DUAL PROTEASE
A special combination of bromelain and papain available as
a powder. Particularly useful for tenderizing seafood such
as clam and squid.
ENZECO® FICIN 100
Derived from the latex of ficus glabrata fig tree,
it has a rapid rate of reaction and a low temperature of inactivation.
ENZECO® FUNGAL PROTEASE 300
A highly concentrated fungal proteolytic enzyme produced from
Aspergillus Oryzae. Available as a powder. 300,000
ENZECO® NEUTRAL BACTERIAL PROTEASE 160K
Derived from B.subtilis, this enzyme preparation
was approved for use as a meat tenderizer in 1999. The enzyme
has similar temperatures of inactivation as Ficin but is much
less expensive and is in more consistent supply.
As a starting point we recommend 1000 to 3000 Milk Clot Units
per pound of meat.
Tenderizing Enzymes, a brief discussion
two most often used meat tenderizing enzymes are Papain and
Bromelain. Both are derived from plant sources. These are the
papaya fruit and the pineapple plant. To a much lesser extent,
Ficin, derived from fig tree latex is also used. Other sources
of enzymes have been cited for meat tenderization such as Bacillus
subtilis, Aspergillus oryzae and even pancreatin derived
from the pancreas gland (typically hog).
Papain is usually produced as a crude, dried material by collecting
the latex from the fruit of the papaya tree. The latex is
after scoring the neck of the fruit whereupon it may either
dry on the fruit or drip into a container. This latex is then
further dried. It is now classified as a dried, crude material.
A purification step is necessary to remove contaminating substances.
This purification consists of the solubilization and extraction
of the active papain enzyme system through a government registered
process. This purified papain may be supplied as dried powder
or as a liquid.
Bromelain is prepared from the stump or root portion of the
pineapple plant after harvest of the fruit. This stump or root
portion is collected from the fields, peeled and crushed to
extract the juice containing the soluble Bromelain enzyme. Further
processing includes precipitation of the enzyme to further purify
it. This process is carried out in factories under strictly
controlled conditions to assure microbiological quality and
enzyme purity. The Bromelain products are all supplied as powders.
The other enzymes mentioned are produced using selected micro-organisms,
such as Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus oryzae
in commercial enzyme production facilities.
Roughly 95 plus percent of the meat tenderizing enzymes consumed
in the United States are from the plant proteases - Papain and
Bromelain. The microbial tenderizers constitute a minimal portion
and have never been successfully applied on a large scale.
The technical details concerning the various muscle tissue acted
upon by the enzymes is discussed in depth in Part VIL Chapter
27, "Applied Enzymology of Meat Texture Optimization"
of the book entitled, Source Book of Food Enzymology,
by Sigmund Schwimmer, Ph.D. There are various opinions and approaches
to the process of tenderizing meats. One is the antemortern
use of meat tenderizing enzymes. This consists of the physical
injection of a controlled solution of either papain or some
other enzyme into the living animal. This practice has been
discontinued and is no longer used. Postmortem application is
generally acceptable for the lesser quality cuts and a variety
of application methods are available. Often, the enzyme is included
as part of a marinade.
The major area of consumption of meat tenderizers that we see
in the United States is in consumer households. This consumer
use probably accounts for 90% of enzyme tenderizer sales. Typically
two products are being sold in grocery stores ... papain and
For this application, the consumer sprinkles the powder containing
the standardized enzyme material on the meat and through a mechanical
process called "forking" have the enzyme penetrate
the meat cut and then immediately cook in order to produce a
tenderized and highly palatable product. Some of these types
of tenderizers are blended with various spices and flavor enhancers
such as monosodium glutamate.
Further refinements of home use are the incorporation of the
enzymes in marinades that both flavor and tenderize tough cuts
of meat. The major application of tenderizer in today's market
is beef. However many interesting approaches are possible for
other types of meat such as hams and even chicken from non-prime
sources such as old egg laying hens. A newer area is seafood.
The products being treated are squid (calamari), clams, and
other very tough and chewy seafood.
The general characteristics of the two plant derived enzymes
vary somewhat since they all have different temperatures of
inactivation and operate with different kinetics when applied.
Papain is the most temperature stable and can require a temperature
as high as 170-185oF to completely inactivate it. This has certain
advantages and certain disadvantages. The main disadvantage
is that a piece of meat cooked to what we call "medium
rare" will not reach a temperature high enough to inactivate
the papain. Thus, subsequent storage of the meat will allow
the enzyme to continue to tenderize and if extended over too
long a period will produce a mushy unpalatable texture. Papain
should be used in very controlled processes where each step
and cut of meat is under controlled time and temperature and
served properly to the consumer. This is the best process for
large scale highly organized restaurant chains where the process
is thoroughly outlined and adhered to. The pH optimum of papain
is typically similar to that of meat itself.
Bromelain has a lower temperature of inactivation and a slightly
different mode of operation. The temperature of inactivation
of Bromelain is around 160o F which, again, will not be high
enough for inactivation in a medium rare piece of beef. The
rate of action for both papain and bromelain are similar and,
therefore, timing for processing would be similar.
We also supply blends of these products in a ratio which provides,
for certain applications, a unique tenderizing effect.
The microbial enzymes such as Aspergillus oryzae are
not commonly used and we cannot give you much Information concerning
their applications in this area. They are, however, mentioned
in the Schwimmer book.
The most important consideration in selecting a tenderizing
enzyme is the activity of the enzyme. Further considerations
are that the material be of food grade quality, that it have
a low microbial count, and that it meets all incidental government
specifications. Activity is a measure of the enzyme's ability
to react with a specific substrate chosen by the supplier. Enzymes
are sold on the basis of activity or potency. One of the most
common assays for Papain and Bromelain is the Milk Clot Assay.
The Milk Clot Assay is a very accurate and yet simple test procedure
which measures the amount of time required to form clotted milk
in the presence of the proteolytic enzyme under specified and
controlled conditions, i.e., temperature etc. Using this number,
whether it is 100 units per mg. or 500 units per mg., the buyer
can immediately assign formulations that will consistently yield
the same quality of tenderization during the application.
DOSE OR APPLICATION RATE
A Finished Blend for Home Use
Typically enzyme preparations used for direct application by
the ultimate consumer are standardized to contain 0.75 to 1.5
MCU (milk clot units) of enzyme activity per mg of finished
product. The general application rate of this finished product
is 1 teaspoon or 3 grams per pound (500 grams) of meat. This
is the type of product that would be sold in the grocery store
and applied by the consumer. At 3 grams of blended tenderizer,
the consumer would be using a dose of papain calculated as follows:
3 grams = 3000 mg
Formula 1 , standardized at 0.75 MCU/mg
3000 mg x 0.75 MCU/mg enzyme activity = 2250 Milk Clot Units
per pound of meat
Formula 2, standardized at 1.5 MCU/mg
3000 mg x 1.5 MCU/mg enzyme activity = 4500 Milk Clot Units
per pound of meat
For Commercial Marinades and Other Food Service Applications
The action of the enzyme will depend on the time and temperature
that the enzyme has to work. As an example, a cut of meat may
be injected with a marinade and then vacuum tumbled to finish
absorption and forming. The meat is then flash frozen and thawed
when ready for use. Depending on a variety of factors, the marinade
should be formulated so that one pound of meat receives between
1000 and 3000 Milk Clot Units. As an example, if PANOL®
papain, (Activity 300 Milk Clot Units per milligram), were used
in the formula, the researcher would start testing at 3.3 mg
per pound of meat to be treated and increase the dose up to
10 mg. or until the desired tenderness were achieved.
These suggestions and data are based on information
we believe to be reliable. They are offered in good faith, but
without guarantee since conditions and methods of use of our
products am beyond our control Suggestions for use of our products
should not be understood as recommendations that they be used
in violation of any Patents.
Copyright © 1999 Enzyme Development
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