U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



J. Anim. Sci. 2012.90:3596–3605


U.S. Government Work


The present study was conducted to determine the repeatability of color stability measurements and to evaluate relationships among color stability data collected under differing sampling and aging protocols. Beef (Bos taurus) carcasses (n = 100) were selected at grading in a commercial facility, after which a LM steak was removed from the 13th rib of each carcass and immediately placed in simulated retail display. Steaks were removed from the remainder of each loin after 14 (duplicate) and 35 d of aging and placed in display. Color attributes [L*, a*, b*, hue angle, chroma, K/S572/K/S525, and overall color change (ΔE)] were determined on d 0, 1, 4, 7, and 11 of display. Duplicate 14-d aged steaks differed (P < 0.05) initially with regard to L*, b*, hue angle, chroma, K/ S572/K/S525, and ΔE. However, changes in these attributes during display were equivalent in the duplicate steaks. Furthermore, repeatability estimates were high for all attributes, particularly when measured late in the display period (R = 0.55 to 0.97 on d 4, 7, and 11 of display). Differences in the trends associated with color change of steaks removed from the carcass after grading and those aged for 14 d were generally insignificant. Changes in color attributes of steaks aged for 35 d before simulated retail display generally were much more rapid than those obtained after grading or those aged for 14 d. Despite differences in the rate of discoloration during simulated retail display, color attributes were moderately to highly correlated (P < 0.05) between aging treatments, though the degree of correlation between attributes varied across days of display. In steaks collected after grading and those aged for 14 d, the greatest correlation was observed in the latter part of the display period with coefficients ranging from 0.61 to 0.94 on d 4, 7, and 11 of display. The greatest correlation between steaks aged for 14 d and those aged for 35 d were detected in the middle portion of the display period, presumably because many steaks aged for 35 d had reached an ultimate level of discoloration by d 11 of display with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.51 to 0.95 on d 4 and 7 of display. Thus, these results indicate that color stability data is highly repeatable and that, although aging impacts color-life, animal variation is consistent across aging times. Furthermore, steaks obtained from carcasses after grading can provide color stability evaluations applicable to steaks from aged subprimals.