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J Anim Sci. 2000 Apr;78(4):958-65.

Variation in proteolysis, sarcomere length, collagen content, and tenderness among major pork muscles.

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Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, ARS, USDA, Clay Center, NE 68933, USA.


The objectives of this experiment were to determine the extent of variation in proteolysis, sarcomere length, and collagen content among pork muscles and the association of those factors with tenderness variation among muscles at 1 d postmortem. Twenty-three white composite barrows were slaughtered and carcasses (66 kg) were chilled at 0 degrees C for 24 h. At 1 d postmortem, the longissimus lumborum, biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and triceps brachii, long head were dissected from one side of each carcass and frozen. Trained sensory panelists evaluated tenderness, amount of connective tissue, juiciness, and pork flavor intensity of grilled (70 degrees C) chops on 8-point scales. Raw chops were used for total collagen content, sarcomere length, and the extent of desmin proteolysis. Tenderness ratings were highest (P < .05) for semitendinosus (7.2) and triceps brachii (7.1), followed by longissimus lumborum (6.4) and semimembranosus (5.7) and were lowest (P < .05) for biceps femorus (4.0). The simple correlations between longissimus lumborum tenderness and the tenderness of other muscles were .54 (semimembranosus), .34 (semitendinosus), .36 (triceps branchii), and .17 (biceps femorus). Total collagen was highest (P < .05) for biceps femorus (7.1 mg/g muscle), followed by triceps branchii (6.0 mg/g) and semitendinosus (5.3 mg/g), and lowest for semimembranosus (4.5 mg/g) and longissimus lumborum (4.1 mg/g). Sarcomere length was longest (P < .05) for semitendinosus (2.5 microm) and triceps branchii (2.4 microm), followed by semimembranosus (1.8 microm), longissimus lumborum (1.8 microm), and biceps femorus (1.7 microm). Proteolysis of desmin was greatest (P < .05) in longissimus lumborum (39.3%), followed by semimembranosus (21.0%) and biceps femoris (18.5%), then semitendinosus (.2%) and triceps brachii (.2%). Multiple linear regression using total collagen, sarcomere length, and proteolysis accounted for 57% of the variation in tenderness rating among all samples. Piecewise linear regression was used to account for the interaction of sarcomere length with proteolysis and collagen. This analysis accounted for 72% of the variation in tenderness rating. Variation in collagen, proteolysis, and sarcomere length and the degree of their interaction with one another determine the tenderness of individual muscles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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