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Relationships between Beef Postharvest Biochemical Factors and Warner-Bratzler Shear Force
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Biochemical changes in muscle postmortem have been associated with initial beef tenderness early postmortem, and with improvements in tenderness during postmortem storage, defined as meat aging. Differences in the initial contractile state of the sarcomere, the ionic environment of the sarcoplasm including pH, the activity of neutral proteolytic enzymes, and collagen content and solubility have been associated with beef tenderness. In Phase I, steaks from four genetic lines of steers and heifers were used to understand the biochemical differences between tough and tender steaks. The most tender (< 30 N Warner Bratzler shear force (WBS)) and toughest Longissimus steaks (< 30 N WBS) from Angus, Braford, Brangus, and Simbrah heifers and steers were used. For Phase II, samples were obtained from a subset of Santa Cruz yearling heifers selected based of genotypes for tenderness (tough and tender) using a commercial genetic marker. Within genotype for tenderness, each animal was randomly assigned to one of four growth enhancement treatments. The most tender (< 30 N WBS) and toughest Longissimus steaks (< 30 N WBS) were selected for use in this study. In Phase I, tough steaks after 3, 10, and 17d postmortem had higher (P < 0.0005) WBS values than tender steaks. Tender steaks came from carcass with slightly higher (P = 0.008) marbling score and (P = 0.01) Quality grade. Sarcomere length, total and soluble collagen, potassium concentration, and m and µcalpain did not differ (P > 0.05) between tough and tender steaks. Sodium concentration at 10 d was higher (P = 0.03) in tough steaks, but only account for 0.05% of the variation in WBS at 3d. Tender steaks had less (P = 0.04) intact desmin at 24h, but intact desmin was not correlated (P > 0.05) with WBS. In Phase II, tough steaks after 3, 10, and 17d postmortem had higher (P < 0.0001) WBS values than tender steaks. Tender steaks came from carcass with slightly higher (P < 0.03) marbling score and (P = 0.02) Quality grade. Tender teaks were slightly lighter (P = 0.02), with more red (P = 0.02) and yellow (P = 0.007) color, and had slightly lower (P = 0.02) pH, compared with tough steaks. Sarcomere length, total and soluble collagen, sodium and potassium concentration, and m and µcalpain did not differ (P > 0.05) between tough and tender steaks. Tender steaks had less (P < 0.0001) intact desmin at 17d postmortem than tough steaks. Intact desmin at 17d was responsible for 4%, 47%, and 30% of WBS variation after 3, 10, and 17d postmortem, respectively. The slight difference in marbling and quality grade did not account for a significant amount of variation in WBS. However, meat color and pH accounted for variation in shear WBS. Calcium flux may have influenced meat tenderness by activation of calpains and may have altered protein to protein interactions. Results suggested that marbling, µ calpain activity, and desmin degradation, and to a lesser extent pH and meat color contributed to meat tenderness.
Warner-Bratzler shear force
Orozco Hernandez, Pilar (2013). Relationships between Beef Postharvest Biochemical Factors and Warner-Bratzler Shear Force. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from