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Impacts of aging/freezing sequence on microstructure, protein degradation and physico-chemical properties of beef muscles

Setyabrata, Derico, Kim, Yuan H. Brad
Meat science 2019 v.151 pp. 64-74
beef, beef carcasses, color, desmin, freeze-thaw cycles, freezing, lipids, longissimus muscle, meat quality, microstructure, muscle fibers, oxidative stability, protein degradation, thawing, troponin T, vacuum packaging
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of aging/freezing sequence on meat quality, oxidative stability and biochemical attributes of beef muscles. At 3 days postmortem, Longissimus lumborum and Semitendinosus muscles were obtained from 10 beef carcasses, cut into 3 sections and vacuum-packaged. The sections were randomly assigned to aging/freezing treatments (aging only, aging then freezing/thawing, and freezing then thaw/aging). Freezing first then-thaw/aging showed more enlarged gaps between muscle fibers and widely opened extracellular drip channels, resulting in more purge/exudate loss compared to other treatments (P < .05). No differences in other meat quality attributes (e.g. shear force, color and lipid oxidative stability) were found between the aging/freezing sequence treatments (P > .05). A greater desmin degradation was observed in both freezing treatments, while troponin-T degradation was not affected (P > .05). The results suggest that freezing (and aging) itself would be the critical factor affecting those quality attributes of frozen/thawed meat rather than the sequence of aging/freezing.