The effect of chilling temperatures and mode of suspension of beef carcasses on sarcomere length and meat tenderness

Author: J.H. Dreyer, A.J.J. van Rensburg, R.T. Naude, P.J. Gouws and S. Stiemie
Year: 1979
Issue: 1
Volume: 9
Page: 1 - 9

Young Afrikaner crossbred steers were used for the experiment after being fed ad lib until a desired estimated carcass mass of 120 and 240 kg was reached. Carcasses were split into sides – one group of sides served as controls (hock hanging method) while the experimental sides were suspended by the pelvic bone and both sides were subjected to one of five chilling temperatures from 0 ° to 9 °C. Samples for sarcomere counts and shear force determinations were taken from the M. longissimus thoracis and the M. semitendinosus. Sarcomere counts were made at 1000 x magnification and shear force determined after cooking at temperatures of 60 ° and 80°C. The muscles from carcasses of 120 kg had a greater chilling rate and as a result had a higher shear force and shorter sarcomeres than the 240 kg carcasses. The mode of suspension had a definite effect on meat tenderness in that the pelvic suspended carcasses had a lower shear force and longer sarcomeres which could be interpreted as more tender meat to the consumer. The pelvic method of suspension can be recommended for fully integrated meat plants but not for plants where carcasses have to be transported for processing. Optimal initial chilling temperatures for light carcasses (120 kg) were between 7 ° and 9 °C and for heavier carcasses (240 kg) between 3 ° and 7 °C.

Keywords: beef, carcass, chilling, Meat, sarcomere, tenderness
Read article