Oxidative environments decrease tenderization of beef steaks through inactivation of μ-calpain

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Lonergan, Steven
Huff-Lonergan, Elisabeth
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Animal Science

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that oxidative conditions in postmortem (PM) tissue decrease calpain activity and proteolysis, subsequently minimizing the extent of tenderization. To achieve different levels of oxidation, the diets of beef cattle were supplemented with vitamin E for the last 126 d on feed, and beef steaks were irradiated early PM. Ten steers were fed a finishing diet with the inclusion of vitamin E at 1,000 IU per steer daily (VITE). Another 10 beef steers were fed the same finishing diet without added vitamin E (CON). At 22 to 24 h PM, strip loins from each carcass were cut into 2.54-cm-thick steaks and individually vacuum packaged. Within 26 h PM, steaks were irradiated at 0 or 6.4 kGy and then aged at 4°C for 0, 1, 3, 7, and 14 d postirradiation. Steaks from each time point were used to determine Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) and calpain activity, and for western blotting of sarcoplasmic proteins and myofibrillar proteins. Calpastatin activity was determined at 0, 3, and 14 d postirradiation. At 1, 3, 7, and 14 d postirradiation, WBSF values of irradiated steaks were higher (P < 0.03) than for nonirradiated steaks. Western blots of troponin-T and desmin showed decreased proteolysis in irradiated samples compared with nonirradiated samples. At 2 d PM, troponin-T degradation products were more evident (P < 0.03) in nonirradiated steaks supplemented with VITE than nonirradiated steaks from the CON diet. Similarly, VITE treatment resulted in steaks with lower (P < 0.05) calpastatin activity at 1 d PM than in steaks from steers fed the CON diet. Irradiation diminished the rate of calpastatin inactivation. Irradiated samples, regardless of diet, had no detectable levels of intact titin or nebulin. Irradiation decreased μ-calpain activity and autolysis, whereas m-calpain activity was not affected by diet or irradiation. Inactivation of μ-calpain by oxidation during early times PM decreased the amount of myofibrillar proteolysis, thereby decreasing the extent of tenderization of beef steaks.


This article is from Journal of Animal Science 82 (2004): 3254–3266. Posted with permission.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2004