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Journal of Animal Science





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The objective of this study was to examine the effect of early postmortem protein oxidation on the color and tenderness of beef steaks. To obtain a range of oxidation levels, the longissimus lumborum muscles (LM) from both strip loins of 20 steers fed either a finishing diet with vitamin E (1,000 IU per steer daily, minimum of 126 d [VITE]; n = 10 steers) or fed the same finishing diet without vitamin E (CON; n = 10 steers) were used. Within 24 h after slaughter, the LM muscle from each carcass was cut into 2.54-cm-thick steaks and individually vacuum packaged. Steaks from each steer were assigned to a nonirradiated group or an irradiated group. Steaks were irradiated within 26 h postmortem, and were aged at 4°C for 0, 1, 3, 7, and 14 d after irradiation. Steaks from each diet/irradiation/aging time treatment were used to determine color, shear force, and degree of protein oxidation (carbonyl content). Steaks from steers fed the VITE diet had higher (P < 0.01) α-tocopherol contents than steaks from steers fed the CON diet. Immediately following irradiation, steaks that had been irradiated had lower (P < 0.05) L* values regardless of diet. Irradiated steaks, regardless of diet, had lower a* (P < 0.05) and b* (P < 0.01) values than nonirradiated steaks at all aging times. Carbonyl concentration was higher (P < 0.05) in proteins from irradiated steaks compared to nonirradiated steaks at 0, 1, 3, and 7 d postirradiation. Immunoblot analysis showed that vitamin E supplementation decreased the number and extent of oxidized sarcoplasmic proteins. Protein carbonyl content was positively correlated with Warner-Bratzler shear force values. These results indicate that increased oxidation of muscle proteins early postmortem could have negative effects on fresh meat color and tenderness.


This article is from Journal of Animal Science 82 (2004): 785–793. Posted with permission.

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American Society of Animal Science



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