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Accuracy and repeatability of beef carcass longissimus muscle area measurements
- Steiner, R., Vote, D.J., Belk, K.E., Scanga, J.A., Wise, J.W., Tatum, J.D., Smith, G.C.
- Journal of animal science 2003 v.81 no.8 pp. 1980
- beef carcasses, longissimus dorsi, carcass grading, meat grades, meat packing plants, image analysis, carcass yield, repeatability, expert systems
- This study was conducted to determine the accuracy and repeatability of beef carcass longissimus muscle area (LMA) measurements obtained by three different methods. Longissimus muscle area for beef carcass sides (n = 100) randomly selected in a commercial packing plant was determined: 1) independently by three USDA grading supervisor "experts" using the grid method to obtain triplicate measurements of the same longissimus muscle (LM); 2) by three different Colorado State University personnel tracing the LMA on acetate paper and subsequently measuring the area via a polar planimeter three different times (total of 3 x 3 = 9 observations/LM); and 3) by use of two identical video image analysis (VIA) instruments making triplicate measurements for each LM using three different procedures. Video image analysis Procedure 1 required that LMA be measured by placing the camera head unit over the LM and collecting three sequential images without moving the camera head unit while carcasses were in a stationary position; Procedure 2 required measurement of LMA by placing the camera head unit over the LM and collecting three images, but removing and repositioning the camera head unit between collection of each image while carcasses were in a stationary position; and Procedure 3 required that LMA be measured by placing the camera head unit over the LM and obtaining an image while carcasses were in continuous motion (chain speed of 360 carcasses/h) during three different circulations past the grading stand. Overall, VIA-derived LMA measurements were highly accurate for all three procedures compared with expert-gridded (R2 = 0.92, 0.90, and 0.84 for Procedures 1, 2, and 3, respectively) and acetate/planimeter-traced (R2 = 0.94, 0.93, and 0.86 for Procedures 1, 2, and 3, respectively) LMA measurements. Instrument LMA repeatability also was comparable to expert-gridded and acetate/planimeter-traced LMA repeatability, as the means of the absolute differences between individual measurements and the average of those same measurements per LM were 1.29, 1.35, 0.52, 0.84, and 1.87 cm2 for expert-gridded, acetate/planimeter-traced, and VIA Procedures 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Therefore, VIA instrumentation can be used to assess beef carcass LMA in both a stationary and operational scenario with high levels of accuracy and repeatability.