Prediction of Woody Breast Using Image Analysis of Carcass Features


An emerging problem in the broiler industry is a condition referred to as woody breast.  The condition can be characterized by breast tissue that is hard to the touch with varying degrees of severity, and it exhibits histological signs of muscle fiber degeneration and fibrosis.  The incidence can be up to 30% for moderate and severe cases, especially in heavy debone broilers.  These moderate and severe cases cause issues in meat quality such as loss of water holding capacity and texture issues that result in downgrades and even condemnations.  Furthermore, this condition can cause potential problems with processing methods such as deboning, portioning and tumble marination.  This leads to great economic losses for the poultry industry and potentially a loss in consumer acceptance of poultry in the marketplace.


On-line process control is a developing area for poultry processing because it can allow processors to have more real time process control.  Vision grading systems are used in the industry to help sort product before cut-up processes to maximize profitability of cuts.  Data collected using existing vision grading systems include identification of missing parts and body dimensions among other features.  The use of a non-destructive and non-contact vision grading technology could provide a powerful real-time tool to assess woody breast in carcasses.


Carcass features are highly correlated to woody breast severity independent of carcass age or strain and therefore may be a reliable method to identify woody breast in the broiler carcass.  Automation of these measurements would allow for the potential integration into current on-line vision grading systems, and allow poultry processing plants to identify and sort broiler carcasses by woody breast condition.

Patent Information:
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional United States 62/522,332 6/20/2017    
Animal Agriculture
For Information, Contact:
Bryan Renk
Associate Director for Technology Commercialization
University of Arkansas TCO
Casey Owens
Xiao Sun
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