Predicting Tenderness in Beef Carcasses by Combining Ultrasound and Mechanical Techniques
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• Meat tenderness is a concern today in the beef cattle industry, and it will become an even greater concern in the future. • Tenderness is a complex issue, and it is difficult to predict tenderness after cooking by examining raw beef or carcass beef. Unfortunately, tenderness must be evaluated at the carcass level to be a useful tool in the industry. • A star-shaped probe was attached to an InstronÒ machine. This attachment makes it possible to measure tenderness in both raw and cooked Longissimus dorsi steaks. The correlation between raw and cooked was 0.41. • The correlation between cooked star probe values and Warner Bratzler shear values (the standard tenderness measure) was 0.53. • The star-shaped probe applies pressure to beef tissue. This approach was then combined with ultrasound to evaluate firmness or softness of beef tissue. Ultrasound images were collected as increased pressure was applied (elastography). • A probe has been built that attaches to hot carcasses to evaluate this elastography procedure.