Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Varnold, K.A. 2013. Production management factors affecting inherent beef flavor: the role of post-weaning forage, energy supplementation, finishing diets, and aging periods. PhD Diss. University of Nebraska, Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Animal Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Chris R. Calkins. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Kimberly A. Varnold


Projects were conducted to determine effects of diet and aging periods on inherent beef flavor characteristics by relating biochemical constituents of meat, consumer acceptability, and lexicon flavor notes of two different muscles. Prediction equations were also created. Warm-season grasses caused increased concentrations of moisture, heme iron, and zinc in L. dorsi steaks. Aging 28 d instead of 7 d caused increased pH, carbohydrate, and heme and non-heme iron concentrations in B. femoris steaks. Warm-season grasses caused decreased concentrations in a majority of fatty acids, specifically when supplementation was not provided. Few differences were observed with cool-season grasses. Provision of wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) as a supplemental energy source minimized a majority of effects. Aging longer than 7 d tended to dissipate desirability differences in both muscles. Finishing on WDGS, especially after supplementing with WDGS, caused declines in several consumer panel scores in L. dorsi steaks. Warm-season grasses were most detrimental towards consumer panel scores in B. femoris steaks. The least desirable flavor notes were associated with warm-season grasses most of which were improved with supplementation in both muscles. Clearly, grass type is important for both flavor development and consumer preference. Even though several of the meat principle components were found to significantly influence consumer panel and lexicon flavor note scores, the regression coefficients were small. Several regression coefficients between lexicon notes and consumer panel scores were not only significant, but also large suggesting they may be good predictors of consumer acceptability. A majority of the lexicon flavor notes were shown to be altered by diet and aging. Grazing on cool-season grasses, or supplementing while being grazed on warm-season grasses, can alter flavor notes to create a product that is highly desirable to consumers. Providing supplementation, finishing on an all corn diet, and aging the meat also promoted desirable flavors.

Advisor Chris R. Calkins