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Ossification score is a better indicator of maturity related changes in eating quality than animal age

Bonny, S.P.F., Pethick, D.W., Legrand, I., Wierzbicki, J., Allen, P., Farmer, L.J., Polkinghorne, R.J., Hocquette, J-F and Gardner, G.E. (2016) Ossification score is a better indicator of maturity related changes in eating quality than animal age. Animal, 10 (04). pp. 718-728.

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Ossification score and animal age are both used as proxies for maturity-related collagen crosslinking and consequently decreases in beef tenderness. Ossification score is strongly influenced by the hormonal status of the animal and may therefore better reflect physiological maturity and consequently eating quality. As part of a broader cross-European study, local consumers scored 18 different muscle types cooked in three ways from 482 carcasses with ages ranging from 590 to 6135 days and ossification scores ranging from 110 to 590. The data were studied across three different maturity ranges; the complete range of maturities, a lesser range and a more mature range. The lesser maturity group consisted of carcasses having either an ossification score of 200 or less or an age of 987 days or less with the remainder in the greater maturity group. The three different maturity ranges were analysed separately with a linear mixed effects model. Across all the data, and for the greater maturity group, animal age had a greater magnitude of effect on eating quality than ossification score. This is likely due to a loss of sensitivity in mature carcasses where ossification approached and even reached the maximum value. In contrast, age had no relationship with eating quality for the lesser maturity group, leaving ossification score as the more appropriate measure. Therefore ossification score is more appropriate for most commercial beef carcasses, however it is inadequate for carcasses with greater maturity such as cull cows. Both measures may therefore be required in models to predict eating quality over populations with a wide range in maturity.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © The Animal Consortium 2015
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