Application of Carrageenan in Meat Products

Application of Carrageenan in Meat Products


1. Carrageenan assists in the gelling of protein.

Protein is the most important factor that affects the yield, taste, and quality of meat products. Due to the protein response property of carrageenan and the mutual effects with the long chain of protein molecule, it can enhance the gel strength of protein network. Such effect is similar to adding albumen.


2. Carrageenan and Ionic Reaction

Its negative ions can react with polar water molecules by hydrogen bond or metal ions, improving the water-holding capacity of protein network.

semi refined carrageenan meat

3. Carrageenan and Fat Reaction

Carrageenan doesn’t have strong reactivity to fat and should be supported by other O/W (oil-in-water type) colloids with water-holding capacity in order to effectively improve the quality of meat products. Consequently, different products ask for different technological requirements and different formulas.


4. Carrageenan and Meat Products

The aim of injection and tumbling is to help phosphate, salt and carrageenan make good contact with protein in meat fiber and thus let meat fiber swell. Generally speaking, carrageenan used here is precooked refined carrageenan because it can swell in cold water, interact with released salt-soluble meat proteins and penetrate into meat fiber. Such products are ham and bacon.


The aim of chopping is to help water and materials fully mix and emulsify with smashed meat fiber, protein and fat by mechanical cutting. Generally speaking, carrageenan used here is semi-refined carrageenan and supported by high-viscosity excipients with emulsification function in order to improve the viscosity, water-retaining property and emulsifying property of chopped materials. Such products are sausage and sandwiches.


The heat treatment can denature meat proteins completely and solidify to form a network structure. The interaction between half-ester sulfate group of kappa-carrageenan and meat protein, polyhydroxy groups and water, and the gelation between one another can effectively improve the network structural strength of protein, firmly lock water inside the structure and improve water-retaining property and cohesiveness.


According to the technological processes, carrageenan can be divided into Refined Carrageenan and Semi-refined Carrageenan. Refined Carrageenan is usually used in injection and tumbling process while Semi-refined Carrageenan in chopping.

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On February 6th, 2013, posted in: carrageenan, Products and Techniques by Tags:

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