Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Meat Quality variations

Meat quality indicators of 15 European Beef Breeds. The measurement of some meat quality parameters have been shown as breed specific. This is of importance to all members in the supply chain, since it suggests that different strategies may be necessary when measuring meat quality of different breeds. It has been shown that the calpain system and its relationship with shear force measurements differ between breeds. The dairy beeds showed higher values for all components of the calpain system, in contrast to the double muscled Piemontese breed, which had low calpastatin activity. Overall, calpastatin showed a poor correlation with 10 day aged meat shear froce measurements. However, the relationship was breed dependent and 36% of shear force could be explained by the calpastatin activity in the Pirenaica breed. Principal component analysis of metabolic measurements on the same animals showed that measures of fatness and discriminated some breeds eg Aberdeen Angus and Highland and leaness others Limousin and Piamontesa.

These variable were defined by myosin heavy chain type MHC1 and MHC11A as opposed to MHC 11X. COX and CS activities associated with breeds adapted to hardy local conditions: the extensive grazing breeds (eg Casina, Avilena) have higher CS and COX activities as do some dual purpose breeds (Red Cattle, Jersey, Simmental and Holstein). In contrast specialised beef breeds with high muscle mass, e.g. South Devon, Charolais, Marchigiana and Piamontesa have low CS and COX activities. Eating quality measurements by trained sensory panels in UK and Spain showed a similar stratification of breed. The most tender being Pirenaica, Avilena and Piamontesa, and the least tender group being the Marchigiana and Simmental, and to a lesser extent the Highland.

The colour of the lean muscle also showed breed differences, Avilena, Casina and Pirenaica were redder than South Devon, Aberdeen Angus and Highland, with other breeds intermediate. These various parameters could be used eg by retailers to define difference in beef quality and may be used in selection programmes to change the characteristics of beef to meet consumer preferences, or to provide a defined, quantifiable choice. The meat characteristics, together with genetic information could also be used to provide a method of verifying beef origin.

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