story about the research.
Tommy Wheeler (left) and Stephen Shackleford (middle) prepare muscle for
calpain extraction as physiologist Mohammad Koohmaraie separates calpain and
calpastatin from a meat extract. Click the image for more information about
ARS Nebraska Scientists Win Tech Transfer Award
Elstein February 10, 2005
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 Three Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) scientists in Clay Center, Neb.,
have won a technology transfer award for an image analysis system that more
accurately grades beef carcass yields.
The scientists were honored yesterday during a ceremony at USDA
headquarters here. ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.
Koohmaraie and food technologists
D. Shackelford and
L. Wheeler won the agencys award for Superior Effort in
Technology Transfer in 2004. They work at the ARS Roman L. Hruska U.S.
Meat Animal Research Center (MARC)
in Clay Center.
The system they developed takes an image of the ribeye of the beef
carcass and uses the amounts of lean meat and fat that are present to predict
the percentage of the carcass that can be sold as retail cuts. Their
systems predictions are more accurate than the assessments by human meat
The group was honored for transferring their invention from the lab to
beef packing plants. Industry-wide adoption of this system will allow producers
to compare marketing bids between packers without concern for different methods
the plants use to assess carcass leanness. The system is expected to save the
meat industry $15 million annually.
The MARC beef carcass image analysis system allows beef packers to
objectively determine the yield of a carcass and pay producers appropriately.
Previously, packers had to rely on the human eye to identify the yield grade of
Koohmaraie, Shackelford and Wheeler have won USDA performance awards
in 2000, 2002 and 2003, in addition to other awards.