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The impact of pre-slaughter stress on beef eating quality

Loudon, K.M.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-5506-5480, Tarr, G., Lean, I.J., Polkinghorne, R., McGilchrist, P., Dunshea, F.R., Gardner, G.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-7499-9986 and Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 (2019) The impact of pre-slaughter stress on beef eating quality. Animals, 9 (9). Article 612.

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The study evaluated the relationship between pre-slaughter stress, plasma biomarkers and consumer-evaluated eating quality of pasture raised beef cattle (n = 488). The design tested steer only, heifer only and mixed sex cattle with a comparison of direct kill versus a 14 day rest period in abattoir holding paddocks prior to slaughter. Experiment One sourced cattle from four farms and tested shipping and road transport. Experiment Two sourced cattle from four farms and tested a commercial saleyard pathway. The impact on treatment on untrained consumer eating quality scores were tested on five muscle groups, m. psoas major, m. longissimus dorsi lumborum, m. biceps femoris, m. semitendinosis, and m. infraspinatus. Across all muscles, a two-week rest period had the biggest improvement in sensory score. Mixed groups scored lower in the outside muscle than non-mixed groups. However, the mixing response was inconsistent in the eye round muscle and not significant in the other muscles. Plasma glucose and L-lactate indicated a marked acute stress response at slaughter with a small detrimental impact on consumer score. The muscle damage enzyme markers creatine kinase (CK) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were strongly associated with a lower meat quality score (MQ4). Neither β-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) nor non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were associated with MQ4, suggesting that fat mobilisation does not impact consumer sensory score.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Copyright: © 2019 by the authors
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