DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY POSTMORTEM TUMBLING METHODS TO IMPROVE TENDERNESS AND PROTEOLYSIS OF FRESH BEEF LOINS
Historically, the meat industry has struggled to provide consumers with consistent beef tenderness. Various post-harvest technologies have been used in industry; however, there is still a need to develop a natural and safe post-harvest processing system that can be used to create consistently tender products for consumers. In addition to postmortem aging being a time-consuming process, literature has suggested that it is not a sufficient method to achieve tenderization in certain cull cow muscles. This has resulted in the large supply of cull cow beef to be underutilized due to its inferior quality, specifically tenderness. Applying a combination of mechanical tenderization with additional postmortem aging may be an effective strategy to overcome deficiencies in beef tenderness. Recent studies have found that tumbling without brine addition can be successful at improving instrumental tenderness and consumer liking of tenderness of fresh beef loin. The physical disruptions of muscles, which likely occur during tumbling, may enhance activity of proteolytic enzymes and thus induce more tenderization. The overall objective of this thesis was to investigate the effects of fresh beef tumbling methods and postmortem aging times on the tenderness and proteolysis of loin muscles from both A maturity cattle and cull cows.
The first chapter of this thesis is a literature review that will address the factors affecting tenderness and the methods used by the industry to improve tenderness, specifically focusing on meat tumbling and cull cow beef. The second chapter is a study that investigated the effects of fresh beef tumbling at different postmortem times on meat quality attributes and proteolytic features of loins. The results from this study suggest that early postmortem tumbling coupled with aging can synergistically impact the improvements of beef loin tenderness and proteolysis, shortening the necessary aging period. The third and final chapter of this thesis is a study that aimed to determine the effect of fresh beef tumbling and postmortem aging on the quality and proteolysis of loins from cull cows. The results from this study indicate that aging would be effective at improving the quality and palatability of cull cow beef loins, although tumbling could improve consumer liking of tenderness at earlier postmortem times.