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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety and Quality » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #373662

Research Project: Strategies to Optimize Meat Quality and Composition of Red Meat Animals

Location: Meat Safety and Quality

Title: Extended aging and marbling class effects on color stability of beef Longissimus lumborum, Gluteus medius, and Biceps femoris steaks

item King, David - Andy
item Shackelford, Steven
item Cushman, Robert - Bob
item Wheeler, Tommy

Submitted to: Meat and Muscle Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2020
Publication Date: 5/1/2021
Citation: King, D.A., Shackelford, S.D., Cushman, R.A., Wheeler, T.L. 2021. Extended aging and marbling class effects on color stability of beef Longissimus lumborum, Gluteus medius, and Biceps femoris steaks. Meat and Muscle Biology. 5(1):1-14.

Interpretive Summary: Postmortem aging is widely used to ensure tenderness of beef cuts. Although the effectiveness of aging in improving tenderness is well documented, the effects of aging on other economically important traits are not well understood. Lean color is the primary factor in consumer purchase decisions and products with insufficient color life are discounted or discarded. This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of extended postmortem aging in Ribeye and top sirloin steaks from carcasses with Low Small or Upper Slight marbling scores. Marbling class had minimal effect on lean color stability. Sirloin steaks had less stable lean color than ribeye steaks. Increasing aging time resulted in less stable lean color although these differences were small and muscle dependent.

Technical Abstract: Postmortem aging improves palatability of various muscles, especially those from lower quality grades. This study evaluated postmortem aging and marbling class effects on the color stability of longissimus lumborum, gluteus medius, and biceps femoris steaks. Carcasses were selected at grading to have Lower Small (Small00 to Small50; n = 50) or Upper Slight (Slight50 to Slight90; n = 50) marbling scores. Strip loin and top sirloin subprimals from each carcass side were assigned to aging treatments (14, 21, 28, or 35 d) in an incomplete block arrangement. After aging, subprimals were cut into longissimus lumborum, gluteus medius, and biceps femoris steaks, respectively. Steaks were placed in a simulated retail display for 11 d. Changes in redness (a* and hue angle) were much slower and less extensive (P < 0.001) in longissimus lumborum steaks than in gluteus medius steaks, which had slightly slower and less extensive (P < 0.01) redness changes than biceps femoris. Increasing aging time increased (P < 0.001) the rate and extent of overall color change ('E) during simulated retail display. Steaks from Lower Small carcasses had higher (P < 0.01) L* values than steaks from Upper Slight carcasses at 14, 28, and 35 d postmortem. In steaks from Upper Slight carcasses, L* values were lower (P < 0.01) in steaks aged for 28 d compared to other aging times. In steaks from Lower Small carcasses, L* values were highest (P < 0.001) when aged for 14 d. Increased aging time generally decreased (P < 0.05) a*, b*, and chroma values. However, within each aging time, only b* values of steaks aged for 35 d differed (P = 0.01) with regard to marbling class. Results indicate that increasing aging time decreased color life of beef muscles, and that marbling class had minimal impact on lean color stability.