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Meat Sci. 2005 Sep;71(1):100-21. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2005.03.003.

Current research in meat color.

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Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, 224 Weber Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-0201, USA.


This review surveyed recent literature focused on factors that affect myoglobin chemistry, meat color, pigment redox stability, and methodology used to evaluate these properties. The appearance of meat and meat products is a complex topic involving animal genetics, ante- and postmortem conditions, fundamental muscle chemistry, and many factors related to meat processing, packaging, distribution, storage, display, and final preparation for consumption. These factors vary globally, but the variables that affect basic pigment chemistry are reasonably consistent between countries. Essential for maximizing meat color life is an understanding of the combined effects of two fundamental muscle traits, oxygen consumption and metmyoglobin reduction. In the antemortem sector of research, meat color is being related to genomic quantitative loci, numerous pre-harvest nutritional regimens, and housing and harvest environment. Our knowledge of postmortem chilling and pH effects, atmospheres used for packaging, antimicrobial interventions, and quality and safety of cooked color are now more clearly defined. The etiology of bone discoloration is now available. New color measurement methodology, especially digital imaging techniques, and improved modifications to existing methodology are now available. Nevertheless, unanswered questions regarding meat color remain. Meat scientists should continue to develop novel ways of improving muscle color and color stability while also focusing on the basic principles of myoglobin chemistry.

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