Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

January 2001


Published in Nebraska Beef Cattle Report 2001, published by Agricultural Research Division, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Dark cutting beef occurs when muscle glycogen levels are depleted prior to slaughter. Without glycogen, lactic acid is not produced in postmortem muscle, causing a higher than normal muscle pH. This research was conducted to identify the threshold level of glycogen where the dark cutting condition is likely to occur. These data from muscles varying widely in pH suggest that muscle glycogen levels need to be at or above 80 mmol/kg to prevent the dark cutting beef condition.