The effects of use of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) pretreatment and 2-stage curing on the microbial, physicochemical, and microstructural qualities of salted duck eggs were studied. After pretreatment in 0.5% (w/v) SDS solution at room conditions for 15 min, no discolorations were observed and no microorganisms were detected on the egg shells. In the 2-stage curing process, 25% (w/v) and 30% (w/v) saline solutions were evaluated in the 1st step (Stage I, approximately 18 d), whereas 4% (w/v) saline solution was applied in the 2nd step (Stage II, approximately 15 d). Along with increased curing time, water content decreased and NaCl content increased in the egg yolks from approximately 0.40% to 0.86%, whereas the water content of egg albumen remained at approximately 85% during the 2-stage curing. More importantly, the NaCl content of albumen maintained at approximately 4.0% at Stage II curing. Yolk index as a sign of maturity for salted duck eggs reached 1 at the end of Stage I (18 d) and retained the same value during Stage II curing regardless of the NaCl concentration in the Stage I saline solution. Oil exudation in egg yolks increased as the time of curing increased. As seen from scanning electron microscopy, oil was released from yolk granules. This study indicated that SDS pretreatment is effective to reduce microbial load on the shells of fresh duck eggs and the 2-stage curing can improve physicochemical qualities of the salted duck eggs and shortened curing time to about 7 to 17 d as compared to the traditional 1-step curing method.
Spoiled saline solution and uneven distribution of salt are the 2 major problems in producing salted duck eggs. Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) pretreatment and 2-stage curing process have shown effective to solve these problems, respectively. The SDS pretreatment was able to remove microorganisms and soil from the surface of fresh egg shells, thus preventing the spoilage of the saline solution. The 2-stage curing process successfully controlled the NaCl content of egg albumen and yolk in the final product, and shortened the curing time compared to the traditional 1-step curing method.