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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Oct 4;54(20):7769-77.

Development of inosine monophosphate and its degradation products during aging of pork of different qualities in relation to basic taste and retronasal flavor perception of the meat.

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Department of Food Science, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.


Inosine monophosphate (IMP) and its degradation products, ribose and hypoxanthine, are all considered to be important constituents in meat flavor formation and development. The present study explored the fate of IMP during the aging of two qualities of pork (pH >5.7 and 5.5 < pH < 5.6) and the potential relationship between IMP, hypoxanthine, and sensory attributes of pork registered both as retronasal and basic taste responses in whole meat, meat juice, and the remaining meat residue. During aging the concentration of IMP decreased with a simultaneous increase in the concentrations of inosine, hypoxanthine, and ribose. The rates at which IMP was degraded to inosine and inosine to hypoxanthine during aging were found to be in agreement with the known rate constants of the dephosphorylation of IMP and the hydrolysis of inosine, respectively. Moreover, high-pH pork resulted in a significantly higher concentration of hypoxanthine throughout storage compared with low-pH pork due to an initially higher concentration of IMP in high-pH meat. The sensory analysis showed increasing intensity in bitterness and saltiness of pork as a function of aging, with the intensity being most pronounced in the meat juice. The increasing bitterness of the pork as a function of aging coincided with the higher content of hypoxanthine in these samples, thereby suggesting that degradation of IMP to hypoxanthine might influence pork flavor. In contrast, IMP was associated with nonaged meat and the sensory attributes meaty and brothy.

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