Investigating the role of technology in the assessment of turkey meat quality and quantity.
Demand for poultry products continues to increase, globally, as the population shifts their diets towards a western diet of high protein and low fat. Turkey meat has quickly become a popular poultry product within the last decade. The increased consumer demand has the industry altering their breeding practices to allow for birds to reach market weights and sizes much faster. In the efforts to breed birds larger and faster, there has been rising number of meat quality defects throughout products. Many of these quality defects can be linked back to genetic selection, nutrition, and environmental stimuli. Research regarding turkey meat quality and quantity using a variety of assessment tools to gather a holistic view of potential causative agents is limited, and therefore, this thesis outlines assessment techniques that can identify and monitor the relationships of both turkey meat quality and quantity parameters. Three studies were conducted over a two-year period, the first was identifying the relationships between meat quality traits. The second study created a predictive model using several variables for turkey component weights using a 2D imaging system. The final study identified immune traits within the genetic architecture of each carcass component to determine affiliation to meat quality. Further studies are required to further identify the causative agents of this meat quality defects; however this thesis provides a solid framework for future assessments and monitoring solutions.