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


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. (2011) 89:1434–1451 doi:10.2527/jas.2010-3595


Muscles from beef carcasses (n = 100) were selected from a commercial processor and aged for 14 d. Longissimus lumborum (LL), semimembranosus (SM), biceps femoris (BF), gluteus medius (GM), triceps brachii (TB), rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, adductor, semitendinosus, infraspinatus, teres major, biceps femoris ischiatic head, biceps femoris sirloin cap, and gracillus steaks were placed in display for 9 d. Instrumental color variables [lightness (L*), redness (a*), yellowness (b*), hue angle, chroma, and overall color change from d 0 (ΔE)] were determined on d 0, 1, 3, 6, and 9 of display. Muscle pH and myoglobin content were determined for LL, SM, BF, GM, and TB. Muscles differed (P < 0.05) in initial values of each color variable evaluated, and the extent and timing of changes during display differed across muscles. Relationships between color variables measured in LL steaks and those measured in steaks from other muscles differed across days of display with the strongest relationships being observed earlier in the display period for labile muscles and later in stable muscles. Lightness of LL steaks was correlated with lightness of all of other muscles evaluated, regardless of display day (r = 0.27 to 0.79). For a*, hue angle, chroma, and ΔE values, the strongest relationships between LL values and those of other muscles were detected between d 9 LL values and those of other muscles on d 3, 6, or 9, depending on the relative stability of the muscle. Correlation coefficients between d 9 a*, hue angle, chroma, and ΔE values in LL and those of other muscles were 0.50, 0.65, 0.28, and 0.43 (P < 0.05) or greater, respectively, for the muscles included in the study. Myoglobin content of SM, BF, GM, and TB was highly correlated with that of LL (r = 0.83, 0.82, 0.72, and 0.67, respectively; P < 0.05). Muscle pH of LL was correlated with pH of SM and GM (r = 0.44 and 0.53; P < 0.05), but not (P > 0.05) pH of BF or TB. Muscle effects generally explained more variation in a*, b*, hue angle, chroma, and ΔE than animal effects. However, the relative importance of animal effects increased as display continued. These data indicate that animal effects were consistent across muscles, though muscle effects had greater contribution to color stability variation. Furthermore, strong relationships between LL color stability and the stability of other muscles indicate that strategies developed to manage animal variation in LL color stability would beneficially affect the entire carcass.