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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal Science

First Advisor

Amanda Blair


The overall objective of this dissertation was to better understand the mechanisms involved in beef tenderness. Specifically, there were 3 parts to this objective: 1) to determine if in vitro degradation of calpastatin by caspase-3 can enhance the postmortem breakdown of myofibrillar proteins by μ-calpain, 2) to determine the conditions (temperature, pH) that exist in early postmortem muscle of normally chilled and delay chilled beef carcasses to provide a model for in vitro work, and to determine the mechanism by which specific early postmortem temperature/pH conditions found in normally chilled and delay chilled muscle influence the enzymes that regulate the aging process in vitro, and 3) to determine the influence of maternal energy status during midgestation on offspring carcass characteristics and meat quality, and to determine if maternal energy status during mid-gestation influences the expression of genes in muscle development or characteristics of muscle that may impact meat tenderness. Overall, results from this dissertation indicate caspase-3 cleavage of calpastatin does not enhance in vitro degradation of troponin T by μ-calpain, while meat aging and μ- calpain activity are influenced by both temperature and pH. Additionally, results suggest that maternal energy status during mid-gestation may impact fat deposition in intramuscular and subcutaneous fat depots without impacting muscle mass, while the level of maternal energy restriction during mid-gestation in this research had limited effects on carcass characteristics, meat tenderness, and expression of myoregulatory genes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Beef Cattle--Carcasses


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted