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Quantifying the relative contribution of ante- and post-mortem factors to the variability in beef texture

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2012

M. Juárez*
Affiliation:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
J. A. Basarab
Affiliation:
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
V. S. Baron
Affiliation:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
M. Valera
Affiliation:
Departamento de Ciencias Agroforestales, Universidad de Sevilla, Ctra. Utrera km. 1, 41013 Seville, Spain
I. L. Larsen
Affiliation:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
J. L. Aalhus
Affiliation:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, AB, Canada T4L 1W1
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Abstract

This study aims to investigate the relative contribution of ante- and post-mortem factors to the final quality of beef. In all, 112 steers (four breed-crosses) were arranged in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial experimental including production system, growth implant and β-adrenergic agonist strategies. Carcasses were suspended by the Achilles tendon or the aitch bone and meat was aged for 2/6/13/21/27 days (longissimus muscle) or 2/27 days (semimembranosus muscle). Meat quality traits related to beef texture were measured. Statistical analyses were developed including ante- and post-mortem factors and their relative contribution to the variability observed for each measured trait was calculated. The main factor responsible for the variability in sarcomere length was the suspension method (91.1%), which also influenced drip-loss (44.3%). Increasing the percentage of British breeds increased (P < 0.05) the intramuscular fat content in longissimus muscle, but only when implants were not used. Thus, the breed-cross, implant strategy and their interaction were responsible for >58% of the variability in this trait. The variability in instrumental and sensory tenderness was mainly affected by post-mortem factors (carcass suspension, ageing time and their interaction), explaining generally ∼70% of the variability in these traits. Breed-cross was the second most important effect (∼15%) when carcass suspension was not considered in the model, but still ageing time was responsible for a much larger proportion of the variability in tenderness (>45%). In conclusion, post-mortem handling of the carcasses may be much more effective in controlling beef tenderness than pre-mortem strategies.

Type
Product quality, human health and well-being
Information
animal , Volume 6 , Issue 11 , November 2012 , pp. 1878 - 1887
Copyright
Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2012

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