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The development of a pre-slaughter blood calcium loading strategy to enhance beef muscle tenderness

Dana James Hanson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


High blood calcium levels at the time of slaughter may increase tenderness during various aging times. Three preliminary studies were conducted to determine the effect of high calcium drench on blood serum levels in the ruminant. Calcium chloride solutions were utilized throughout these studies. It was concluded that high calcium drench that provided at least 113 g per head of elemental calcium will cause a significant rise in serum calcium 30 m after treatment. ^ A final study was designed to evaluate the hypothesis that a high calcium oral drench administered immediately prior to slaughter hastens the effects of aging and/or increase overall muscle tenderness of beef longissimus, supraspinatus, and semitendinosus muscles. Forty-two crossbred steers were drenched prior to slaughter with one of three treatments: (1) Control, 1 L of distilled water, (2) 1 L of a calcium chloride solution that provided 150.12 g of elemental calcium, and (3) 2.5 L of a calcium propionate solution that provided 150.60 g of elemental calcium. The longissimus, semitendinosus, and supraspinatus muscle were removed and fabricated into steaks for Warner-Bratzier shear evaluation. Calcium chloride-treated steers had higher (P < .10) serum calcium levels compared to control and calcium-propionate drenched cattle. Numeric differences for muscle calcium were observed for the longissimus muscle with calcium propionate having the highest concentration. There were no differences in muscle calcium between treatments for the semitendinosus or supraspinatus muscle. Slight differences were noted among treatments for the shear force values of steaks. Longissimus tenderness from calcium prop ionate-drenched cattle tended to be lower (P = .11) at 14 d postmortem compared to control. There were no differences among treatments at d 2, 5, 7 and 21 d. There was no benefit in tenderness due to treatment for the semitendinosus steaks nor the supraspinatus muscle. Sarcomere lengths did not differ among the treatment groups. Use of an calcium propionate drench prior to slaughter may improve tenderness in beef longissimus dorsi muscles after 14 d postmortem. ^

Subject Area

Agriculture, Food Science and Technology|Agriculture, Animal Culture and Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Hanson, Dana James, "The development of a pre-slaughter blood calcium loading strategy to enhance beef muscle tenderness" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3004613.