[Homestead] No more shoe--leather steak

tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Feb 5 11:01:16 EST 2005


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/Source:/ 	*USDA/Agricultural Research Service* 	
/Date:/ 	2005-02-04
/URL:/ 	http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050203215710.htm

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    The Science Behind Making Steak More Tender

Consistently tender steaks may be more readily available at restaurants 
and supermarkets in the future, thanks to technology developed by 
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Nebraska and used by 
beef processors.

At the ARS Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay 
Center, Neb., animal physiologist Mohammad Koohmaraie is leading a group 
of researchers in determining how to make steaks more tender. Some of 
their discoveries are already being used by industry.

The scientists noticed meat is tender after slaughter, then toughens 
before starting to become tender again. Accordingly, the scientists 
believe steaks shouldn't be sold before they've aged for 14 days, to 
make sure the meat has undergone maximum tenderization. A majority of 
beef processors are already following this procedure.

They also discovered the enzyme µ-calpaina and the variation of the 
protein called calpastatin, both of which have a major impact on meat 
tenderness. Calpastatin determines how much calpain is active and how 
tender the steak will be. Since calpain requires calcium for activity, 
the team has developed a process for injecting calcium into meat in 
order to make it tender.

The scientists are also studying cattle genetics. Under the leadership 
of chemist Tim Smith, they are comparing the sequences of genes that 
produce calpain in both tender and tough cattle. They have released a 
DNA test that accurately identifies which cattle will likely provide 
tender steaks, so producers can use those animals for breeding.

Read more about the research in the February 2005 issue of Agricultural 
Research magazine: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb05/steak0205.htm

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research 
agency.

*Editor's Note:* The original news release can be found here 
<http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2005/050203.htm>.

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/This story has been adapted from a news release issued by 
USDA/Agricultural Research Service./





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