The Relationship between Loin Surface Visual Characteristics with Instrumental Colour and Tenderness Characteristics from Five South African Beef Breeds

The study looked at the relationship between visual and instrumental measurements of color and tenderness in five South African beef breeds: Bos indicus (Brahman), Sanga type (Nguni), British Bos taurus (Angus), European Bos taurus (Charolais), and the composite (Bonsmara). Ten animals were used per genotype, for a total of 50. The animals were finished on a feedlot diet at the ARC-AP feedlot for 90-110 days before being slaughtered at the ARC-AP abattoir when they reached a live weight that would produce a carcass of Class A (no permanent incisors) and fat class 2 to 3 (1- 5 mm) (South African Beef Classification System). The carcasses were split after exsanguination. The right side was electrically stimulated (ES), while the left side was not stimulated (NS), but was delayed chilled. Steaks from both the ES and NS treatments were aged on polystyrene plates at 6°C in a display cabinet until 3 days (d) post mortem (pm), and then in vacuum bags at 1-4°C in a cold room until 9, 14, and 20 d pm. The steaks were then visually inspected for color, marbling, fiber separation, surface texture, and structural integrity by a 10-member trained panel. The color of the instruments was measured with a Minolta meter (CIE L*, a*, b*). Shear force was used to measure instrumental tenderness with Instron. The study’s findings revealed that the Nguni breed produced the most tender and darker meat, while the Bonsmara breed produced the least tender and lightest meat. There were strong correlations between visual color and L* (r=0.809; P0.0001), b* (r=0.698; P0.0001), and hue (r=0.797; P=0.797). Shear force and structure integrity (r=-0.410; P0.0001), as well as fibre separation (r=- 0.401; P0.0001), were also correlated. There were very few correlations found between visual color and shear force. As a result, while a trained eye can judge meat color by visual analysis, it appears that color judgment cannot predict tenderness. The study’s findings revealed that the Nguni breed produced the most tender and darker meat, while the Bonsmara breed produced the least tender and lightest meat. There were strong correlations between visual color and L* (r=0.809; P0.0001), b* (r=0.698; P0.0001), and hue (r=0.797; P=0.797). Shear force and structure integrity (r=-0.410; P0.0001), as well as fibre separation (r=- 0.401; P0.0001), were also correlated. There were very few correlations found between visual color and shear force. As a result, while a trained eye can judge meat color by visual analysis, it appears that color judgment cannot predict tenderness. Visual texture showed no promise as a reliable visual tenderness attribute and thus cannot be used to predict meat tenderness. An experienced eye, on the other hand, may be able to predict tenderness by observing visual structural properties such as fibre separation and structural integrity.

Author (S) Details

K. Y. Modika
Department of Meat Science, Agricultural Research Council – Animal Production Institute, Private Bag X2, Irene, 0062, South Africa and Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa.

L. Frylinck
Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa.

K. W. Moloto
Department of Meat Science, Agricultural Research Council – Animal Production Institute, Private Bag X2, Irene, 0062, South Africa.

E. C. Webb
Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028, South Africa.

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