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How Prolonged Slow Heat Tenderises Beef

09 March 2013

Relationship between meat toughness and properties of connective tissue from cows and young bulls heat treated at low temperatures for prolonged times.

Heat treatment on meat helps to make it tender by weakening connective tissue and changing the form of the protein and helping to dissolve collagen.

However, meat from cows may require more heat at a longer period to produce the same tenderness as meat from young bulls.

These were the results of a study carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen, the DTU National Food Institute in Denmark and the University of Helsinki.

The research team of Line Christensena, Per Ertbjergc, Hanne Løjeb, Jens Risboa, Frans W.J. van den Berga and Mette Christensena aimed to discover whether cows and young bulls require different combinations of heating temperature and heating time to reduce toughness of the meat.

The combined effect of heating temperature and time on toughness of semitendinosus muscle from the two categories of beef was investigated and the relationship to properties of connective tissue was examined.

Measurements of toughness, collagen solubility, cathepsin activity and protein denaturation of beef semitendinosus heated at temperatures between 53 °C and 63°C for up to 19 and oh half hours were conducted.

The results revealed that slightly higher temperatures and prolonged heating times were required to reduce toughness of semitendinosus from cows to the same level as in young bulls.

Reduced toughness of semitendinosus as a result of low temperature for prolonged time is suggested to result from weakening of the connective tissue, caused partly by denaturation or conformational changes of the proteins and/or by solubilization of collagen.

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.
February 2013

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