Microtopography of chicken skin was studied by varying scalding temperature to determine the least favorable skin surface for salmonellae attachment. Birds were scalded at 52, 56, and 60°C, and the changes of skin morphology were examined by light and transmission electron microscopy throughout the whole processing. Breast skins obtained immediately after picking were inoculated with Salmonella typhimurium, and the attachment was quantified by using scanning electron microscopy and microbiological plating techniques. Skins scalded at 52 and 56°C retained most of the epidermis, although the latter temperature caused the loss of twice as much stratum corneum layers and produced a smoother surface than the former. Skins at 60°C began to lose most of epidermal layers during scalding and exposed dermal surface after picking, which was sometimes covered with thin fragmental epidermis or basal tissue. The number of salmonellae attached to 60°C-processed skins was 1.1~1.3 logs higher than those attached to the skins processed at 52 and 56°C, as measured by scanning electron microscopy. Microbiological plating, however, showed no significant difference in attachment among three skins processed at different temperatures. This was probably due to the insensitivity of the plating method to differentiate attachment strengths of salmonellae to the skin. The above results suggest that removal of whole epidermis should be avoided in processing to reduce salmonellae attachment to the skin.

This content is only available as a PDF.