Effects of pressurization on structure, water distribution, and sensory attributes of cured ham: can pressurization reduce the crucial sodium content?

Hanne Christine Bertram, Zhiyun Wu, Ida K Straadt, Michael Aagaard, Margit Dall Aaslyng

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study investigated the replacement of tumbling (intermittent vacuum tumbling for 6 h) with pressure treatment (7 MPa for 4 s) in the production of a cured ham product with the aim of elucidating if the pressure treatment could reduce the amount of salt added to obtain a satisfactory product. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) revealed a pressure-induced loosening of the meat structure, and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxometry revealed that this structural modification of the meat had an impact on water properties and water distribution in both cooked and cooked/fried products. Three salt levels (0.6, 1.1, and 1.7% w/w) were investigated, and sensory profiling revealed that the pressured-cooked meat obtained a significantly higher juiciness score at low and medium salt levels. In addition, sensory profiling assessments revealed that at the lowest salt concentration the pressured product was perceived to be saltier compared with the tumbled product; however, the difference was not significant and was absent upon frying. In contrast, in sensory time intensity analysis the maximum intensity and the total salt taste were significantly higher in the pressured samples at the low and medium salt levels in the cooked samples. In conclusion, the present study showed strong evidence that the structure and biophysical characteristics of cured ham is altered by pressurization and suggested that pressurization may reduce the critical amount of salt required in a ham product.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number26
Pages (from-to)9912-7
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Food Handling/methods
  • Hot Temperature
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Meat Products/analysis
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Pressure
  • Sensation
  • Sodium/analysis
  • Swine
  • Water/analysis

Cite this