Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science


A trend in recent years has been for meat scientists to concentrate much of their effort on obtaining a more complete understanding of those factors which affect or contribute to meat quality or palatability. Some of these topics have ranged from the effect of nutritional regime on palatability to the effects of hormone treatments, antemortem stress conditions, breeds or types, sex, marbling levels, maturity or age, cooking techniques, chemistry of muscle and fat, measurement of muscle fiber diameter and extensibility, connective tissues and, finally, color of muscle and fat. This emphasis on factors relating to beef palatability has also caused a proliferation of studies devoted to elucidating what beef palatability actually is and how it can be measured more objectively. As a result, we also find a number of reports on comparisons of different shearing and press techniques, histological examinations of muscle and connective tissue morphology and biochemical studies of the components which comprise what we know as meat. Only a limited amount of study has been given to the relationship which may exist between bone characteristics and palatability in our meat-producing animals. About the only reference to bone is made when development of ossification is discussed in the light of advancing “physiological maturity" in beef carcasses. This particular characteristic takes on added importance when we realize that every Federal meat grader must assess this rather subjective measure of carcass maturity on every carcass he grades. Therefore, "physiological maturity" plays a role in the marketing of federally graded meat and consequently has economic significance. Results of studies on carcass maturity have been somewhat mixed, but it appears there is at least some relationship between measures of maturity and organoleptic tenderness.

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South Dakota State University