Review article

The effect of structural and biochemical changes of muscles during post-mortem process on meat tenderness

2017, 18 (4)   p. 929-941

Ana KAIĆ, Silvester ŽGUR


The aim of this paper was to describe the main structural and biochemical changes of muscles during post-mortem process implicated with meat tenderness. Taking into account complexity of biochemical and structural changes in muscles, meat tenderness is associated with the amount and quality of connective tissue, intramuscular lipid content (marbling), sarcomere length, and myofibrillar protein degradation. In short, more tender meat is associated with lower connective tissue content, higher collagen solubility, greater intramuscular lipid content, longer sarcomeres and greater myofibrillar protein degradation. However, it must be considered that the interactions among the listed factors are complex and dependent on numerous processes during post-mortem such as chilling regime, electrical stimulation, carcass suspension, aging, mechanical tenderization, different marinades, and thermal processing conditions.


tenderness, sarcomere length, myofibrillar protein degradation, marbling, connective tissue

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