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31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Effect of rearing management practices on tenderness of bovine meat

2007, INRA Prod. Anim., 20, 309-326


ENESAD, Equipe Système d’Elevage et Qualité des Animaux et des Viandes, F-21079 Dijon, France


Tenderness is an important criterion when evaluating bovine meat quality. This descriptor depends on a complex combination of para-meters, in which technological factors are essential. Nevertheless, when post-slaughter conditions are fixed, wide variations among meat tenderness still exist. This variability may be linked to rearing factors.

When considering animals of a determined breed, the morphological type has no impact on meat tenderness and muscle shear force. Tenderness and shear force of steers and bulls are not modified by age at slaughter before 24 months. Before 35 months, age at slaughter has no impact on heifer meat tenderness. Beyond, an increase of slaughter age may have an unfavourable impact on meat tenderness of cows. Among rearing factors, pregnancy and calving do not damage meat tenderness. Exercise has a positive impact on the tenderness of locomotive muscles but no influence on the tenderness of non-locomotive muscles. Considering the feeding factors, it appears that increasing the feeding level or lengthening the finishing period may have a positive impact on meat tenderness in a few studies. Compensatory growth may also have in some studies a positive influence, which needs to be confirmed. The influence of feeding on meat tenderness is also limited and variable depending on the feeding type and the experimental conditions.

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