Animal Science, Department of


Date of this Version

January 1996


Published in 1996 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report; published by Agricultural Research Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Research in fat reduction of processed meats has recognized problems associated with removal of fat: toughness, rubbery texture, lack of flavor and juiciness, and a darker color. Regardless of the importance of diet and health issues to consumers, low-fat products will not be purchased if they have unacceptable palatability or appearance. Current technologies for fat replacement include the addition of water, protein-based, carbohydrate-based, or synthetic compounds, alone or in combination. The addition and retention of water by these fat replacers is effective in improving the palatability attributes of low-fat meat products. Beef connective tissue (BCT), a byproduct of desinewing operations, may be used as a potential water binder to replace fat in low-fat meat products. The mechanism for this improvement may lie in the thermal denaturation of collagen during cooking and its conversion to gelatin, a water binding agent. This study consisted of two experiments. The objective of Experiment I was to determine temperature and time variables that enhance conversion of beef connective tissue to gelatin. The objective of Experiment II was to determine basic properties of high added-water beef connective tissue gels.