July 18, 2021

Meat Science and Muscle Biology Symposium

Meat Science and Muscle Biology Symposium

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

Awardee Talk: The Future of Beef: Improved Eating Quality and Livestock Systems, But No Cultured Meat: Dr. Jean-Francois Hocquette, INRAE

Dr. Hocquette began the Meat Science and Muscle Biology Symposium by reviewing past research in muscle biology and energy partitioning between the muscle and adipose tissues. There are a variety of factors affecting meat sensory traits for consumers: Rearing Practices (muscle biochemical/structure characteristics), Slaughtering and Storage (Meat tenderization during aging), and Cooking (Meat sensory traits). The research presented involved predicting beef palatability using muscle biochemical traits and biomarkers. Dr. Hocquette stated that a precise definition of variables and repeatability of measurements are crucial for this research.

Furthermore, Dr. Hocquette related that beef is not always meeting consumers’ expectations. Unfortunately, there is no strong relationship between the eating quality of beef and its price in France. Therefore, a better quality system is needed – Australia is working on a consumer-driven prediction model of beef eating quality based on integrating all factors affecting beef eating quality from the farm to the plate. In addition, the International Meat 3G Foundation is promoting this system to predict the eating quality of beef for each combination of cut and cooking methods. In conclusion, Dr. Hocquette discussed the future of meat production – using a complementary and compulsory strategy to improve our livestock farming systems based on agroecology principles and communicating to farmers this objective.  

Fatty Acid Analysis and Composition in Meat by Mass Spectrometry – Dr. Thu Dinh, Mississippi State University

Dr. Dinh began his presentation by discussing the different lipids in meat. More specifically, how fatty acids determine the physical and chemical properties of lipids. The majority of fatty acids found in animal fats are saturated and monounsaturated. The fatty acid arachidonic acid is only found in animal fats and is essential. This fatty acid can be used as a quality control indicator during analysis. More commonly, fatty acid analysis is done by gas chromatography of volatile fatty acid derivatives, prominently the methyl esters, and flame ionization detection. Flame ionization detection is very sensitive and is the most widely used detection method for gas chromatography. Moreover, the flame ionization detection is a ‘carbon counter’ and relies on the ‘equal per carbon’ rule; therefore, different peak areas are produced from different carbons at the same molar concentration.

Mass spectrometry technology has improved the specificity of fatty acid detection analysis and allows for more accurate quantification and better identification of fatty acid concentrations. However, authentication standards are still needed when comparing ion fragmentation for mass spectrometry. Currently, more than 50 fatty acids have been identified in meat samples, and some branched-chain fatty acids may have flavor, safety, and shelf life implications in meat products.

Nutritional and Genetic Influences on Fatty Acid Composition of Beef and Lamb – Dr. Susan Duckett, Clemson University

Dr. Duckett began her presentation by discussing what alters fatty acid composition in ruminants. She identifiedssss acid content in the meat are the highest concerns seen by consumers. The research presented discussed the significant differences in the composition of steers finished on grain vs. pasture. These differences also included the primary fatty acids found in animal tissues (Palmitic, Stearic, and Oleic). In addition, ruminant meat products contain over 75% saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, finding approaches to attain greater desaturation of palmitic and stearic acids would be beneficial. These fatty acids were heavily discussed in relation to a difference in Angus and Wagyu cattle and how these fatty acids are deposited and regulated in the animal tissue.