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Meat Sci. 2014 Nov;98(3):490-504. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2014.06.032. Epub 2014 Jun 28.

Improving beef color stability: practical strategies and underlying mechanisms.

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Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA.


This paper overviewed the current literature on strategies to improve beef color and attempted to logically explain the fundamental mechanisms involved. Surface color and its stability are critical traits governing the marketability of fresh beef when sold, whereas internal cooked color is utilized as an indicator for doneness at the point of consumption. A multitude of exogenous and endogenous factors interact with the redox biochemistry of myoglobin in post-mortem skeletal muscles. The scientific principles of these biomolecular interactions are applied by the meat industry as interventions for pre-harvest (i.e. diet, animal management) and post-harvest (i.e. packaging, aging, antioxidants) strategies to improve color stability in fresh and cooked beef. Current research suggests that the effects of several of these strategies are specific to type of animal, feeding regimen, packaging system, and muscle source. Meat scientists should explore novel ways to manipulate these factors using a biosystems approach to achieve improved beef color stability, satisfy consumer perception, and increase market profitability.


Antioxidants; Enhancement; Fresh and cooked beef color; Metabolites; Myoglobin; Packaging

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