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Food Microbiology
28, No. 4, 2011; Pages: 782 - 790

A comparison of artificial neural networks and partial least squares modelling for the rapid detection of the microbial spoilage of beef fillets based on Fourier transform infrared spectral fingerprints

Efstathios Z. Panagou, Fady R. Mohareb, Anthoula A. Argyri, Conrad M. Bessant, George-John E. Nychas

Agricultural University of Athens, Department of Food Science, Technology and Human Nutrition, Laboratory of Microbiology and Biotechnology of Foods, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece.


A series of partial least squares (PLS) models were employed to correlate spectral data from FTIR analysis with beef fillet spoilage during aerobic storage at different temperatures (0, 5, 10, 15, and 20 °C) using the dataset presented by Argyri et al. (2010). The performance of the PLS models was compared with a three-layer feed-forward artificial neural network (ANN) developed using the same dataset. FTIR spectra were collected from the surface of meat samples in parallel with microbiological analyses to enumerate total viable counts. Sensory evaluation was based on a three-point hedonic scale classifying meat samples as fresh, semi-fresh, and spoiled. The purpose of the modelling approach employed in this work was to classify beef samples in the respective quality class as well as to predict their total viable counts directly from FTIR spectra. The results obtained demonstrated that both approaches showed good performance in discriminating meat samples in one of the three predefined sensory classes. The PLS classification models showed performances ranging from 72.0 to 98.2% using the training dataset, and from 63.1 to 94.7% using independent testing dataset. The ANN classification model performed equally well in discriminating meat samples, with correct classification rates from 98.2 to 100% and 63.1 to 73.7% in the train and test sessions, respectively. PLS and ANN approaches were also applied to create models for the prediction of microbial counts. The performance of these was based on graphical plots and statistical indices (bias factor, accuracy factor, root mean square error). Furthermore, results demonstrated reasonably good correlation of total viable counts on meat surface with FTIR spectral data with PLS models presenting better performance indices compared to ANN.

Keywords: Artificial neural networks; Aerobic storage; Beef fillets; FTIR; Machine learning; Meat spoilage; Partial least squares regression; Pattern recognition



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