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Meat Sci. 2008 Mar;78(3):153-6. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2007.05.031. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Relationship between beef consumer tenderness perception and Warner-Bratzler shear force.

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Department of Animal Science, University of Torino, Via L. Da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco, Torino, Italy.


The aim of this study was to determine consumer ability to discern different levels of beef tenderness established by Warner-Bratzler shear (WBs). A panel of 220 people evaluated 60 samples of longissimus thoracis using a 5-point intensity scale (1: very tough; 5: very tender). Samples differed for commercial category, breed of animals and ageing length of meat. Shear force was measured by Instron equipped with a Warner-Bratzler device on 1.27cm diameter cores. Correlation coefficient of WBs measurements with tenderness sensory ratings was -0.72. WBs value corresponding to class 3 of the sensory tenderness was 47.77N. From this value, the range of WBs (22.96-72.59N) was split into five categories to which connect the five classes of sensory tenderness. The results suggest consumers' difficulty in discriminating category 1 (WBs>62.59N) from category 2 (WBs: 52.78-62.59N) and a greater inclination to distinguish category 5 (WBs<32.96N). As WBs category boundaries were probably too restrictive for the panel's selective ability, WBs scale was reduced to 3 categories by joining the two extreme categories (i.e. category 2 with 1 and category 4 with 5). In this case, 55.6% of consumers significantly discriminated tough from intermediate and tender meat and 62.3% distinguished tender from intermediate and tough meat (P<0.01). Hence, WBs values >52.68N and <42.87N allow classification of tough and tender beef in a sufficiently reliable way.

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