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Anim Biosci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.20.0488    [Accepted] Published online October 14, 2020.
Effect of the muscle nanostructure changes during post-mortem aging on tenderness of different beef breeds
Zimkhitha Soji1,* 
Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, Republic of South Africa
Correspondence:  Zimkhitha Soji, Tel: +27 406022123, Fax: +27 866282967, Email: zsoji@ufh.ac.za
Received: 14 July 2020   • Revised: 27 August 2020   • Accepted: 14 July 2020
Tenderness is a very complex feature and the process of its formation is very complicated and not fully understood. Its diversification is one of the most important problems of beef production, as a result beef aging is widely used to improve tenderness as it is believed to provide a homogeneous product to consumers. While few studied have evaluated the muscle structure properties in relation to tenderness from early post-mortem, there little to no information available on how the muscle nanostructure of beef carcasses changes during post-mortem ageing to determine the appropriate aging time for acceptable tenderness.
Muscle nanostructure (myofibril diameter (MYD), myofibril spacing (MYS), muscle fibre diameter (MFD), muscle fibre spacing (MFS) and sarcomere length (SL)), meat tenderness and cooking loss (CL) were measured on 20 A2 longissimus muscles of Bonsmara, Beefmaster, Hereford and Simbra at 45mins, 1, 3 and 7 days post-slaughter. Muscle nanostructure was measured using a scanning electron microscope, while tenderness was measured using Warner Bratzler Shear Force.
At 45 minutes post-slaughter, breed affected MYD and MYS only, while at 24hrs it also affected MFD and MFS. On day 3 breed effected MFS and SL, while on day 7 breed effected tenderness only. As the muscles matured, both MYD and MYS decreased while CL increased and the muscles became tender. There was no uniformity on muscle texture features (surface structure, fibre separation, muscle contraction and relaxation) throughout the ageing period.
Meat tenderness can be directly linked to breed related myofibril structure changes during aging in particular the myofibril diameter, spacing between myofibrils and their interaction; while the muscle fibre diameter, spacing between muscle fibres, sarcomere length and cooking loss explain the non-uniformity in beef tenderness.
Keywords: Cooking Loss; Muscle Fibre Diameter; Muscle Fibre Spacing; Myofibril Diameter; Myofibril Spacing; Sarcomere Length

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