Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of age and carcass weight on quality traits of m. rectus abdominis from Charolais heifers

  • M. P. Ellies-Oury (a1) (a2) (a3), R. Dumont (a4), G. Perrier (a4), M. Roux (a4), D. Micol (a2) (a3) and B. Picard (a2) (a3)...


In practice cattle may be slaughtered at different combinations of age and weight. As each of these factors could affect meat quality traits, the present work aimed to identify which combination can be expected to increase overall meat quality of m. rectus abdominis of Charolais heifers. Totally, 40 heifers were slaughtered either at 26±1 or at 36±1 months of age. Young heifers were sampled at two different carcass weights (349±12 and 394±8 kg). Old heifers were also sampled at two different carcass weights (397±6 and 451±9 kg). The m. rectus abdominis was excised 24 h postmortem to determine metabolic enzyme activities, myosin heavy-chain isoform proportions, lipid contents, collagen content and collagen solubility. Shear force measurements were evaluated on raw and broiled meat after 14 days of ageing. Meat quality traits scored between 0 and 10 by sensory analysis. Increasing slaughter age from 26 to 36 months had no impact on either raw/broiled shear force (0.31⩽P⩽0.47) and/or meat quality traits (0.62⩽P⩽0.91) or on physicochemical properties of heifer’s meat samples. Increasing carcass weight for a similar slaughter age of 26 months had also impact neither on meat quality traits (0.52⩽P⩽0.91) nor on muscular properties. On the contrary, increasing carcass weight for a similar slaughter age of 36 months had induced a decrease of muscular shear force (raw muscle; P=0.009) and a concomitant decrease of total collagen content (P=0.03). Nevertheless, no significant impact on meat quality traits was revealed by the sensorial panel (0.13⩽P⩽0.49). Metabolic enzyme activities (0.13⩽P⩽0.86) and myosin heavy-chain proportions (0.13⩽P⩽0.96) were not significantly impacted by slaughter age and carcass weight. Thus, the impact of increasing carcass weight and/or slaughter age in young Charolais heifers has a limited impact on meat quality traits and associated muscular characteristics. Modulating heifer’s cycles (age and/or carcass weight in the studied range) appears to be a way to answer to the numerous marketing chains, without penalising meat quality traits.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Ansay, M 1974. Individualité musculaire chez le bovin: étude de l’équipement enzymatique de quelques muscles. Annales de Biologie Animale Biochimie 14, 471486.
Arthur, PF 1995. Double muscling in cattle: a review. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 46, 14931515.
Bergman, I and Loxley, R 1963. Two improved and simplified methods for the spectrophotometric determination of hydroxyproline. Analytical Chemistry 35, 19611965.
Bernard, C, Cassar-Malek, I, Renand, G and Hocquette, JF 2009. Changes in muscle gene expression related to metabolism according to growth potential in young bulls. Meat Science 82, 205212.
Bonnet, M and Kopp, J 1992. Préparation des échantillons pour le dosage et la caractérisation qualitative du collagène musculaire. Viandes et Produits Carnés 13, 8791.
Brandstetter, AM, Picard, B and Geay, Y 1997. Regional variations of muscles fibre characteristics in m. semitendinosus of growing cattle. Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility 18, 5762.
Briand, M, Tamant, A, Briand, Y, Monin, G and Durand, B 1981. Metabolic types of muscle in the sheep: I myosin ATPase glycolytic and mitochondrial enzyme activities. European Journal of Applied Physiology 46, 347358.
Cassar-Malek, I, Listrat, A and Picard, B 1998. Contrôle hormonal des caractéristiques des fibres musculaires après la naissance. INRA Productions Animales 11, 365377.
Cepin, S, Cepon, M and Skorjanc, D 1992. Influence of growth and carcass weight on carcass and meat characteristics of brown bulls. International Congress of Meat Science and Technology 38, 9 12.
Chambaz, A, Scheeder, MRL, Kreuzer, M and Dufey, PA 2003. Meat quality of Angus, Simmental, Charolais and Limousin steers compared at the same intra-muscular fat content. Meat Science 63, 491500.
Chriki, S, Gardner, GE, Jurie, C, Picard, B, Micol, D, Brun, J-P, Journaux, L and Hocquette, J-F 2012. Cluster analysis application identifies muscle characteristics of importance for beef tenderness. BioMedCentral Biochemistry 13, 2940.
Coleman, LW, Hickson, RE, Schreurs, NM, Martin, NP, Kenyon, PR, Lopez-Villalobos, N and Morris, ST 2016. Carcass characteristics and meat quality of Hereford sired steers born to beef-cross-dairy and Angus breeding cows. Meat Science 121, 403408.
Dransfield, E, Martin, JF, Bauchart, D, Abouelkaram, S, Lepetit, J and Culioli, J 2003. Meat quality and composition of three muscles from French cull cows and young bulls. Animal Science 76, 387399.
Dufey, PA 2008. Finishing of steers following a summering period on mountain pastures: effect of increased growth rate on meat quality. Agrarforschung 15, 378383.
Ellies-Oury, MP, Renand, G, Perrier, G, Krauss, D, Dozias, D, Jailler, R and Dumont, R 2012. Influence of selection for muscle growth capacity on meat quality traits and muscular properties of the m. rectus abdominis of Charolais steers. Livestock Science 150, 220228.
Field, R, McCormick, R, Balasubramanian, V, Sanson, D, Wise, J, Hixon, D, Riley, M and Russell, W 1996. Growth, carcass, and tenderness characteristics of virgin, spayed, and single-calf heifers. Journal of Animal Science 74, 21782186.
Garcia-de Siles, JL, Wilson, LL, Ziegler, JH and Watkins, JL 1982. The effects of slaughter age on growth and carcass traits in an intensively managed crossbred beef herd. Livestock Production Science 9, 375388.
Gregory, KE, Cundiff, LV and Koch, RM 1995. Genetic and phenotypic (co)variances for production traits of intact male populations of purebred and composite beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science 73, 22272234.
Guerrero, A, Velandia Valero, M, Campo, MM and Sañudo, C 2013. Some factors that affect ruminant meat quality: from the farm to the fork. Review. Acta Scientiarum Animal Science 35, 335347.
Hall, N, Schönfeldt, HC and Pretorius, B 2016. Effect of animal age and trimming practices on the physical composition of Bonsmara beef. Food Chemistry 193, 160165.
Hedrick, HB, Paterson, JA, Matches, AG, Thomas, JD, Morrow, RE, Stringer, WC and Lipsey, RJ 1983. Carcass and palatability characteristics of beef produced on pasture, corn silage and corn grain. Journal of Animal Science 57, 791801.
Hocque, MA, Arthur, PF, Hiramoto, K and Oikawa, T 2006. Genetic parameters for carcass traits of field progeny and their relationships with feed efficiency traits of their sire population for Japanese Black cattle. Livestock Science 100, 251260.
Hocquette, JF, Ortigues-Marty, I, Pethick, DW, Herpin, P and Fernandez, X 1998. Nutritional and hormonal regulation of energy metabolism in skeletal muscles of meat-producing animals. Livestock Production Science 56, 115143.
Keane, MG 2003. Beef production from Holstein–Friesian bulls and steers of New-Zealand and European/American descent, and Belgian BluexHolstein–Friesians, slaughtered at two weights. Livestock Production Science 84, 207218.
Kim, CJ and Lee, ES 2003. Effects of quality grass on the chemical, physical and sensory characteristics of Hanwoo (Korean native cattle) beef. Meat Science 63, 397405.
Laemmli, UK 1970. Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of the bacteriophage TA. Nature 227, 680685.
Lucero-Borja, J, Pouzo, LB, de la Torre, MS, Langman, L, Carduza, F, Corva, PM, Santini, FJ and Pavan, E 2014. Slaughter weight, sex and age effects on beef shear force and tenderness. Livestock Science 163, 140149.
Micol, D, Oury, MP, Picard, B, Hocquette, JF, Briand, M, Dumont, R, Egal, D, Jailler, R, Dubroeucq, H and Agabriel, J 2008. Effect of age at castration on animal performances, muscle characteristics and meat quality traits in 26-month-old Charolais steers. Livestock Science 120, 116126.
Ngapo, TM, Riendeau, L, Laberge, C and Fortin, J 2013. Marbling and ageing – part 2. Consumer perception of sensory quality. Food Research International 51, 985991.
Ockerman, HW, Jaworek, D, Van Stavern, B, Parrett, N and Pierson, CJ 1984. Castration and sire effects on carcass traits, meat palatability and muscle fibre characteristics in Angus cattle. Journal of Animal Science 59, 981990.
Ouali, M 1990. Meat tenderization: possible causes and mechanisms. A review. Journal of Muscle Foods 1, 129165.
Oury, MP, Agabriel, J, Agabriel, C, Micol, D, Picard, B, Blanquet, JP, Roux, M and Dumont, R 2007a. Relationship between rearing practices and eating quality traits of the muscle rectus abdominis of Charolais heifers. Livestock Science 111, 242254.
Oury, MP, Dumont, R, Jurie, C, Hocquette, JF and Picard, B 2010. Specific fibre composition and metabolism of the rectus abdominis muscle of bovine Charolais cattle. BMC Biochemistry 11, 1224.
Oury, MP, Picard, B, Briand, M, Dransfield, E, Blanquet, JP and Dumont, R 2009. Relationships between muscle characteristics and meat quality traits in rectus abdominis muscles of Charolais heifers. Meat Science 83, 293301.
Oury, MP, Picard, B, Istasse, L, Micol, D and Dumont, R 2007b. Mode de conduite en élevage et tendreté de la viande bovine. INRA Productions Animales 20, 309326.
Park, BY, Cho, SH, Yoo, YM, Kim, JH, Lee, JM, Joung, SK and Kim, YK 2000. Effect of intramuscular fat contents on the physicochemical properties of beef longissimus dorsi from Hanwoo. Journal of Animal Science and Technology 42, 189194.
Picard, B, Barboiron, C, Duris, MP, Jurie, C and Geay, Y 1999. Electophoretic separation of bovine muscle myosin heavy chain isoforms. Meat Science 53, 17.
Picard, B, Jurie, C, Duris, MP and Renand, G 2006. Consequences of selection for higher growth rate on muscle fibre development in cattle. Livestock Science 102, 107120.
Picard, B, Lefaucheur, L, Berri, C and Duclos, M 2002. Muscle fibre ontogenesis in farm animal species. Reproduction Nutrition Development 42, 415431.
Piot, C, Veerkamp, JH, Bauchart, D and Hocquette, JF 1998. Contribution of mitochondria and peroxisomes to palmitate oxidation in rat and bovine tissues. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 121, 6978.
Renand, G, Larzul, C, Le Bihan-Duval, E and Le Roy, P 2003. L’amélioration génétique de la qualité de la viande dans les différentes espèces: situation actuelle et perspectives à court et moyen terme. INRA Productions Animales 16, 159173.
Renand, G, Picard, B, Touraille, C, Berge, P and Lepetit, J 2001. Relationships between muscle characteristics and meat quality traits of young Charolais bulls. Meat Science 59, 4960.
Rhee, MS, Wheeler, TL, Shackelford, SD and Koohmaraie, M 2004. Variation in palatability and biochemical traits within and among eleven beef muscles. Journal of Animal Science 82, 534550.
Salé, P 1971. Evolution de quelques propriétés mécaniques du muscle pendant la maturation. Bulletin Technique C.R.Z.V. 6, 3544.
Sanudo, C, Macie, ES, Olleta, JL, Villarroel, M, Panca, B and Alberti, P 2004. The effects of slaughter weight, breed type and ageing time on beef meat quality using two different texture devices. Meat Science 66, 925932.
Sanudo, C, Santolaria, MP, Maria, G, Osorio, MT and Sierra, I 1996. Influence of carcass weight on instrumental and sensory lamb meat quality in intensive production systems. Meat Science 42, 195202.
Schönfeldt, HC and Strydom, PE 2011a. Effect of age and cut on cooking loss, juiciness and flavour of South African beef. Meat Science 87, 180190.
Schönfeldt, HC and Strydom, PE 2011b. Effect of age and cut on tenderness of South African beef. Meat Science 87, 206218.
Shorthose, WR and Harris, PV 1990. Effect of animal age on the tenderness of selected beef muscles. Journal of Food Science 55, 18.
Silva, JA, Patarata, L and Martins, C 1999. Influence of ultimate pH on bovine meat tenderness during ageing. Meat Science 52, 453459.
Strydom, PE, Naude, RT, Smith, MF, Scholtz, MM and Van Wyk, JB 2000. Characterisation of indigenous African cattle breeds in relation to meat quality traits. Meat Science 55, 7988.
Sudre, K, Cassar-Malek, I, Listrat, A, Ueada, Y, Leroux, C, Jurie, C, Auffray, C, Renand, G, Martin, P and Hocquette, JF 2005. Biochemical and transcriptomic analysis of two bovine skeletal muscles in Charolais bulls divergently selected for muscle growth. Meat Science 70, 267277.
Therkildsen, M, Melchior Larsen, L, Bang, HG and Vestergaard, M 2002. Effect of growth rate on tenderness development and final tenderness of meat from Friesian calves. Animal Science 74, 253264.
Waggoner, AW, Dikeman, ME, Brethour, JR and Kemp, KE 1990. Performance, carcass, cartilage calcium, sensory and collagen traits of longissimus muscles of open versus 30-month-old heifers that produced one calf. Journal of Animal Science 68, 23802386.
Wulf, DM, Morgan, JB, Tatum, JD and Smith, GC 1996. Effects of animal age, marbling score, calpastatin activity, sub primal cut, calcium injection, and degree of doneness on the palatability of steaks from Limousin steers. Journal of Animal Science 74, 569576.
Young, OA and Davey, CL 1981. Electrophoretic analysis of proteins from single bovine muscle fibres. Biochemistry Journal 195, 317327.


Effect of age and carcass weight on quality traits of m. rectus abdominis from Charolais heifers

  • M. P. Ellies-Oury (a1) (a2) (a3), R. Dumont (a4), G. Perrier (a4), M. Roux (a4), D. Micol (a2) (a3) and B. Picard (a2) (a3)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed