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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2018, Vol. 17 Issue (09): 2118-2125    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(18)62028-3
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Implications of step-chilling on meat color investigated using proteome analysis of the sarcoplasmic protein fraction of beef longissimus lumborum muscle
ZHANG Yi-min1, ZHANG Xiu-ze1, WANG Tian-tian1, David L. Hopkins1, 2, MAO Yan-wei1, LIANG Rong-rong1, YANG Guang-fu3, LUO Xin1, ZHU Li-xian1
1 College of Food Science and Engineering, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai’an 271018, P.R.China
2 NSW Department of Primary Industries, Centre for Red Meat and Sheep Development, Cowra 2794, Australia
3 Shandong Hongan (Group) Co., Ltd., Yangxin 251800, P.R.China
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In order to improve beef color and color stability, step-chilling (SC) was applied on excised bovine longissimus lumborum muscle, with chilling starting at 0–4°C for 5 h, then holding the temperature at 12–18°C for 6 h, followed by 0–4°C again until 24 h post-mortem.  pH and temperature were measured during rigor on SC loins as well as those subjected to routine chilling (RC, 0–4°C, till 24 h post-mortem).  Color L*, a*, b* values, metmyoglobin (MetMb) content, MetMb reducing ability (MRA) and NADH content were determined on samples aged for 1, 7, and 14 d.  Sarcoplasmic proteome analysis was only conducted on d 1 samples.  The results showed muscles subjected to SC maintained a temperature at around 15°C for 5 to 10 h post-mortem, and exhibited a slow temperature decline, but rapid pH decline.  Beef steaks treated with SC had higher L*, a*, b* and chroma values than those of RC samples at 1 and 7 d chilled storage (0–4°C), while showing no significant difference for a*, b* and chroma values at d 14.  The SC samples also exhibited a lower relative content of surface MetMb, higher MRA and NADH content, compared with RC beef steaks during storage, indicating the SC-treated beef showed an improved color stability.  Eleven differential protein spots/nine proteins were identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, and those proteins were mainly involved in redox, chaperone binding, metabolic and peroxidase activity.  Oxidoreductases play a role in decreasing the oxidation-induced myoglobin oxidation and benefiting the production of NADH, and finally improving the colour of beef.  Of these, pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 component subunit beta showed a positive correlation with color L*, a*, b* values and accounted for more than 60% of the variation in color values; this protein can be considered as a potential beef color biomarker.  The present study provided valuable information for studies on the molecular mechanism of color improvement from step-chilling, as well as for identifying markers associated with beef color.
Keywords:  step-chilling        beef color        proteomics        oxidoreductase  
Received: 12 April 2018   Accepted: 14 August 2018
Fund: This work was supported by the earmarked fund for the China Agriculture Research System (beef) (CARS-37), the Special Fund for Innovation Team of Modern Agricultural Industrial Technology System in Shandong Province, China (SDAIT-09-09) and the Funds of Shandong “Double Tops” Program, China (SYL2017XTTD12).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence LUO Xin, Tel/Fax: +86-538-8242745, E-mail:; ZHU Li-xian, Tel/Fax: +86-538-8242745, E-mail:   
About author:  ZHANG Yi-min, E-mail:;

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ZHANG Yi-min, ZHANG Xiu-ze, WANG Tian-tian, David L. Hopkins, MAO Yan-wei, LIANG Rong-rong, YANG Guang-fu, LUO Xin, ZHU Li-xian. 2018. Implications of step-chilling on meat color investigated using proteome analysis of the sarcoplasmic protein fraction of beef longissimus lumborum muscle. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17(09): 2118-2125.

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