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Meat Sci. 2004 Mar;66(3):629-37. doi: 10.1016/S0309-1740(03)00181-5.

Concentrations in beef and lamb of taurine, carnosine, coenzyme Q(10), and creatine.

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Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Levels of taurine, carnosine, coenzyme Q(10), and creatine were measured in beef liver and several muscles of beef and lamb and in cooked and uncooked meat. The amino acid taurine has numerous biological functions, the dipeptide carnosine is a buffer as well as an antioxidant, coenzyme Q(10) is also an antioxidant present within mitochondria, and creatine along with creatine phosphate is involved with energy metabolism in muscle. Large differences were shown for all compounds between beef cheek muscle (predominantly red fibres) and beef semitendinosus muscle (mainly white fibres), with cheek muscle containing 9.9 times as much taurine, and 3.2 times as much coenzyme Q(10), but only 65% as much creatine and 9% as much carnosine. Levels in lamb relative to beef semitendinosus muscles were higher for taurine but slightly lower for carnosine, coenzyme Q(10) and creatine. Values for all the compounds varied significantly between eight lamb muscles, possibly due in part to differences in the proportion of muscle fibre types. Slow cooking (90 min at 70 °C) of lamb longissimus and semimembranosus muscles led to significant reductions in the content of taurine, carnosine, and creatine (P<0.001), but a slight increase in coenzyme Q(10). There was also a four-fold increase in creatinine, presumably due to its formation from creatine. It is concluded that biologically, and possibly nutritionally, significant levels of taurine, carnosine, coenzyme Q(10), and creatine are present in beef and lamb, but that these levels vary between muscles, between animals, and with cooking.

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