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Animal. 2017 Sep;11(9):1645-1652. doi: 10.1017/S1751731117000222. Epub 2017 Feb 20.

Activities of some stress enzymes as indicators of slaughter cattle welfare and their relationship with physico-chemical characteristics of beef.

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1Department of Livestock and Pasture Science,University of Fort Hare,Alice 5700,South Africa.


The study determined the activities of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in transported cattle as indicators of welfare and how they relate to beef quality. A total of 219 (n=219) (85 Beefmaster, 48 Charolaise, 32 Holstein-Friesian and 54 nondescript) cattle brought to the abattoir for slaughter were used in the study. Disposable vacutainer tubes with anticoagulant (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) were used to collect 4 ml of blood samples to determine the activities of CK and LDH. The measurements of pHu and colour coordinates (L*, a* and b*) were carried out at 48 h after slaughter on the representative samples of muscularis longissimuss thoracis et. lumborum (LTL). Longer distance travelled by cattle had a significant effect (P3000 to 5000) and those that travelled for 1263 km had lower CK activities (1000). The activities of LDH were observed in cattle that travelled for 366 and 1012 km (7000) and for those that travelled for 877 and 922 km (6000). Results of the principal component analysis showed that the first three principal components (PCs) explained about 53% of the total variability. The first PC was correlated with meat quality attributes (pHu, Tm, a* and b* values). The activities of CK and LDH were related and useful to define the second PC. However, CK and LDH were not related to beef quality. Therefore, CK and LDH can be used as indicators of welfare in slaughter cattle but cannot be used to predict the quality of meat.


animal welfare; distance travelled; lactate dehydrogenase; meat quality; stress biomarkers

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