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Dr Biltong to the rescue in Cape Town
Maxine Jones receives doctorate in Food science at Stellenbosch
Last Update 14 March 2017
South Africa’s foremost authority on how to make the best biltong is Maxine Jones, a 27 year old Capetonian woman who will receive her doctorate in food sciences from the University of Stellenbosch on Tuesday, 14 March 2017.
Jones, will be the first person with a PhD based exclusively on her scientific research regarding making consistently great quality anddelicious biltong. Supervised by Professor Louw Hoffman, who is the South African Research Chair in Meat Science: Genomics to Nutriomics in the university's department of animal science, the industry-based PhD research project focused on different aspects of biltong processing, including the use of standardised drying procedures to dry the meat.
Jones needed to micro-analyse every aspect of the process which meant analysing temperature, humidity, water activity and air movement. She also needed to examine the moulds, yeasts and bacteria which are found on biltong and influence its shelf life.
Dr Biltong, as Jones is now referred to, quips that it is an actual science and that her aim was to figure out what worked and what didn't in order to create guidelines in the industry.
In her doctoral thesis she proposed that South Africa’s Department of Agriculture Forestries and Fisheries should introduce biltong guidelines similar to those for other forms of processed meat.
“The biltong industry has become an economically important sector in the South African meat industry and has the potential for further growth‚ both nationally and internationally‚” Jones said.
Here’s a tip from Dr Jones for avid biltong makers:
Adding vinegar doesn't make meat dry faster. Drying rates are dependent on the type of meat muscle used and the source of meat. So for example: Gemsbok topside takes 76 hours to dry out, where fatty beef topside takes 118 hours and beef topside needed about 96 hours to dry.
By Tarina Meiring
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