Animal Science Department
Free Calcium Concentration, Calpain-2 Activity, and Final Product Tenderness of Electrically Stimulated Beef
Date of this Version
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of timing of electrical stimulation on free calcium concentration, calpain-2 activity, Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF), and consumer sensory analysis. Twenty-three beef steers were harvested and stimulated (S) using extra-low voltage or not stimulated (NS), at exsanguination and/or 1 h postmortem, resulting in 4 different stimulation treatments: NS-NS, NS-S, S-NS, or S-S. Samples were removed from the longissimus lumborum (LL) and semimembranosus (SM) for free calcium and calpain-2 analysis on days 1, 4, and 14 postmortem. WBSF and sensory analysis steaks were removed on day 4 and frozen (4 d) or aged to 14 d postmortem. Data were analyzed using the mixed model or generalized linear mixed model procedure of SAS (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC), with significance determined at P < 0.05. There was a tendency for an aging-period-by-stimulation-treatment interaction for LL free calcium concentration (P = 0.05), and there was a significant difference between aging periods (P < 0.01). No difference was observed in free calcium concentration in the SM between stimulation treatments (P = 0.44); aging, however, significantly increased SM free calcium concentration (P < 0.01). Stimulation did not impact native calpain-2 activity in the LL (P = 0.71) or SM (P = 0.89). Stimulation treatment did not improve tenderness values for WBSF analysis for the LL (P = 0.69) or SM (P = 0.61) or consumer sensory analysis in the LL (P = 0.56) or SM (P = 0.36). A longer aging period tended to increase calpain-2 activity in the SM (P = 0.08), improve WBSF in the LL (P = 0.09), and significantly improve consumer tenderness scores in the SM (P < 0.01). In conclusion, the timing of electrical stimulation utilized in the current study tended to influence free calcium concentration in the LL but did not influence calpain-2 activity or beef tenderness. Aging, however, improved tenderness.