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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE CARCASS YIELD AND MEAT QUALITY OF RED MEAT ANIMALS

Location: Meat Safety & Quality Research

2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Develop and evaluate non-invasive instrumentation to predict value determining characteristics of meat. a. Develop and evaluate non-invasive instrumentation to measure maturity and lean color for on-line quality grade determination of beef carcasses. b. Continue improving our non-invasive instrumentation to predict meat tenderness and expand its capabilities to include use on multiple quality grades, muscles, and species. c. Develop technology to predict and improve lean color stability in beef. d. Determine the relationship between instrumental assessment of beef carcass yield grade and wholesale rib dissection-based estimates of beef carcass retail product yield.

2. Develop strategies to optimize meat quality and composition traits of meat. a. Develop strategies to improve the value of underutilized muscles. b. Validate that the µ-calpain and calpastatin tenderness markers that were developed and have been verified in structured research populations will be efficacious when applied to the diverse genetics, management systems, and harvesting conditions that occur in the U.S. beef industry. c. Determine the level of differences among lamb breeds in biochemical traits controlling variation in tenderness and develop strategies to exploit these differences to optimize lamb quality and carcass composition.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
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.


3.Progress Report
In FY2008, research was conducted to expand the functionality of the USMARC beef carcass grading camera and the USMARC noninvasive tenderness prediction system. This research resulted in the addition of color classification functionality to the USMARC beef carcass grading camera. This will allow beef packing plants to objectively identify which carcasses are deemed as dark cutters and should be subjected to economic discounts in beef carcass pricing grids.

In the prior CRIS, the USMARC noninvasive tenderness prediction system had been shown to accurately identify U.S. Select carcasses with superior tenderness. Thus, there was considerable interest in use of this technology as a part of beef merchandising programs. Some segments of the beef industry indicated a desire to also apply this technology to U.S. Choice carcasses. Therefore, experiments were conducted to determine the efficacy of the USMARC noninvasive tenderness prediction system for prediction of tenderness of U.S. Choice beef. It was determined that the technology could also be applied to U.S. Choice beef without modification.

With the recent growth of the U.S. ethanol industry and the concomitant increased availability of wet distillers grains for cattle feed, there has been widespread interest about the impact of feeding wet distillers grains on beef quality. Therefore, a comprehensive study of the effects of feed 0%, 20%, 40%, or 60% wet distillers grains during the finishing phase was conducted.

To address the recent occurrence of color stability problems in case-ready packages of beef, novel work was conducted to determine the extent of genetic variation in beef lean color stability during simulated retail display and to determine if visible and near infrared spectroscopy could be used by beef packers to identify carcasses that would yield beef with superior color stability.

Data were collected to facilitate development of models for prediction of rib dissection data using the USMARC beef carcass grading camera.

Objective tenderness data were collected for a diverse sample of 2,000 beef carcasses from across the country to facilitate evaluation of the accuracy of genomic tenderness markers under real world conditions. These carcasses were selected from numerous packing plants representing all of the major cattle feeding regions. These carcasses were selected at random to represent the diversity of genetics and management systems that occur in the U.S. beef industry. Samples from these carcasses are being typed for three commercially available tenderness markers. This work will provide the U.S. beef industry with clear objective data on the expected level of tenderness change that could result from selection for the desirable form of these tenderness markers. This research addresses NP 101, Component 3, Problem Statement 3.A.


4.Accomplishments
1. USMARC noninvasive tenderness prediction system can accurately classify U.S. Choice carcasses. The U.S. beef industry and the Agricultural Marketing Service have sought implementation of standards for tenderness claims. To this end, industry and AMS need instrumentation to noninvasively predict tenderness of meats. Previously, USDA-ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE, had developed a noninvasive method to predict tenderness of the ribeye muscle of U.S. Select beef carcasses based on visible and near infrared spectroscopy. The present work demonstrated that the existing system could also be used on U.S. Choice carcasses. This technology should benefit both consumers and all sectors of the beef industry by facilitating development of premium brands of beef that are consistently tender (NP 101, Component 3, Problem Statement 3.A).

2. Distillers grain. Under a trust agreement between ARS and the Nebraska Corn Board, ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE, determined that steers fed diets containing 20% or 40% wet distillers grain produced carcasses that were heavier, fatter, had lower marbling scores, and were less likely to grade U.S. Choice than steers fed a control diet without distillers grain. Steers fed a diet containing 60% wet distillers grain produced carcasses that were lighter, leaner, had much lower marbling scores, and were much less likely to grade U.S. Choice than either steers fed a control diet without distillers grain or steers fed diets containing 20% or 40% wet distillers grain. (NP 101, Component 3, Problem Statement 3.A)

3. Beef tip center steaks. Under a trust agreement between ARS and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, ARS scientists at Clay Center, NE, determined that beef tip center steaks are an economical alternative to top sirloin steaks for use as a low cost restaurant menu item. The implication of this is that restaurants that currently use top sirloin steaks as a low cost menu option could feature tip center steaks and provide an option that is priced competitively and that will result in similar customer satisfaction. (NP 101, Component 3, Problem Statement 3.A).


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Training materials were developed to facilitate use of slice shear force procedure for tenderness testing by small scale meat processing companies.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings5

Review Publications
Casas, E., White, S.N., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Koohmaraie, M., Bennett, G.L., Smith, T.P.L. 2007. Assessing the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms at the thyroglobulin gene with carcass traits in beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science. 85:2807-2814.

Wheeler, T.L., Shackelford, S.D., Koohmaraie, M. 2007. Beef longissimus slice shear force measurement among steak locations and institutions. Journal of Animal Science 85:2283-2289.

Heaton, M.P., Keele, J.W., Harhay, G.P., Richt, J., Koohmaraie, M., Wheeler, T.L., Shackelford, S.D., Casas, E., King, D.A., Sonstegard, T.S., Van Tassell, C.P., Neibergs, H.L., Chase, C.C., Kalbfleisch, T.S., Smith, T.P., Clawson, M.L., Laegreid, W.W. 2008. Prevalence of the prion gene E211K variant in U.S. cattle. BioMed Central (BMC) Veterinary Research [journal online]. 4:25. Available: (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/4/25).

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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