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J Anim Sci. 2004 Jul;82(7):2092-104.

Supplemental vitamin D3 concentration and biological type of steers. II. Tenderness, quality, and residues of beef.

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Department of Animal and Food Science, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.


Vitamin D3 was orally supplemented to determine the supplemental dose that improved beef tenderness in different cattle breed types. Feedlot steers (n = 142) were arranged in a 4 x 3 factorial arrangement consisting of four levels of supplemental vitamin D3 (0, 0.5, 1, and 5 million IU/steer daily) administered for eight consecutive days antemortem using three biological types (Bos indicus, Bos Taurus-Continental, and Bos Taurus-English). Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) was measured at 3, 7, 10, 14, and 21 d postmortem, and trained sensory analysis was conducted at 7 d postmortem on LM, semimembranosus, gluteus medius, and supraspinatus steaks. Concentrations of vitamin D3 and the metabolites 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 were determined in the LM, liver, kidney, and plasma. Biological type of cattle did not interact (P > 0.10) with vitamin D3 supplementation for sensory or tenderness traits, suggesting that feeding vitamin D3 for 8 d before slaughter affected the different biological types of cattle similarly. Supplementing steers with 0.5, 1, or 5 million IU/(steer(d) decreased (P < 0.05) LM WBSF at 7, 10, 14, and 21 d postmortem compared with controls, and vitamin D3 treatments of 0.5, 1, and 5 million IU decreased (P < 0.05) semimembranosus WBSF at 3, 7, and 14 d postmortem. In general, vitamin D3-induced improvements in WBSF were most consistent and intense in LM steaks. Sensory panel tenderness was improved (P < 0.05) by all vitamin D3 treatments in LM steaks. Sensory traits ofjuiciness, flavor, connective tissue, and off-flavor were not (P > 0.05) affected by vitamin D3 treatments. All vitamin D3 treatments decreased micro-calpain activity and increased muscle Ca concentrations (P < 0.05). Vitamin D3 concentrations were increased (P < 0.05) by supplementation in all tissues tested (liver, kidney, LM, and plasma); however, cooking steaks to 71 degrees C decreased (P < 0.05) treatment residue effects. The vitamin D metabolite 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 was increased (P < 0.05) only in plasma samples as a result of the vitamin D3 treatments. These results indicate that supplementation with vitamin D3 at 0.5 million IU/steer daily for eight consecutive days before slaughter improved tenderness in steaks from different subprimal cuts by affecting muscle Ca concentrations, micro-calpain activities, and muscle proteolysis, with only a small effect on tissue residues of vitamin D3.

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