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


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Published in Beef Research Program Progress Report (1988) No. 3: 54


Extensive research has been conducted on objectively assessing the palatability characteristics, particularly tenderness, of carcass meat. A patent (#4,009,390)by Satterlee et al. (1977) claimed that the ratio of iron (Fe) to zinc (Zn) in beef was highly correlated to its tenderness and that it is also easy to calculate a Fe/Zn ratio accurately with spectrophotometric methods.

An increase in the crosslinking between strands of collagen decreases the solubility of collagen, and also decreases the tenderness of the meat. High moist heat is required to improve tenderness of meat with extensive crosslinking of collagen. Increases in crosslinking of collagen is generally associated with increases in maturity. Collagen crosslinking has been shown to be impaired in zinc-deficient rats, which tends to suggest that a low concentration of zinc in muscle would prevent collagen crosslinking. Also, zinc concentration was significantly correlated to skeletal maturity, fat thickness, ribeye area, panel-detectable connective tissue, and tenderness. The objective of this study was to relate the zinc and iron con. tent of meat from animals varying in sex and age to the textural properties of meat.