Start Date: Aug 15, 2007
End Date: Jul 31, 2012
The VBG2000 image analysis system will be used to develop measurements for carcass maturity and lean color for quality grade determinations of beef carcasses. The VBG2000 system will be used to obtain instrumental measurement of retail product yield for use in genomic analyses. Non-invasive meat tenderness prediction will be expanded to include measurement on U.S. Choice beef carcasses, pork loins, and muscles in addition to longissimus. Strategies to predict and improve lean color stability of beef will be developed. The relative role of connective tissue, muscle shortening, and postmortem proteolysis and their interaction with one another on tenderness of various muscles will be used to develop muscle specific quality improvement strategies to overcome both within and among muscle variation. These strategies may include combinations of antemortem management and genetics utilization as well as postmortem processing methods, marination, and cooking methods to optimize meat tenderness. The µ-calpain and calpastatin tenderness markers that were developed and have been verified in structured research populations will be validated to be efficacious when applied to the diverse genetics, management systems, and harvesting conditions that occur in the U.S. beef industry. The level of differences among lamb breeds in biochemical traits controlling variation in tenderness will be determined and strategies to exploit these differences to optimize lamb quality and carcass composition will be developed.