Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Sulaiman K. Matarneh


Sulaiman K. Matarneh


Kara J. Thornton-Kurth


Robert Ward


Marie Walsh


Following the harvest of an animal, muscle will continue to produce energy in an attempt to stay alive, primarily through the pathway of glycolysis. This occurs in the form of anaerobic (oxygen-free) metabolism of glucose and glycogen, which causes the meat to acidify. This acidification process is important for proper meat quality development and when insufficient glycolysis occurs it can cause a meat defect known as dark cutting. This defect causes the color of the muscle to become very dark, increases the water-holding capacity of the meat, and causes it to feel firm and dry on the surface because the water is held tightly within. This defect usually occurs when the animal is stressed prior to harvest, causing the animal to deplete glycogen stores and limiting the glycolysis that can occur after harvest. Fortunately, this defect rarely occurs in the US, but it occurs frequently in many other parts of the world. Consequently, US-based researchers are often interested in studying the properties of dark cutting meat, but are often unable to do so because they cannot obtain dark cutting samples. Therefore, the objective of this research was to develop a model to simulate dark cutting meat. This was achieved by injecting iodoacetic acid (an inhibitor of glycolysis) into the muscle immediately after the harvest of the animal to mimic the effects of glycogen depletion. Color, water-holding capacity, and firmness of the meat were then tested to ensure that the properties of the meat were similar to those of naturally-occurring dark cutting meat. The results suggested that injection of iodoacetic acid produced meat with dark cutting characteristics and this model may be used to study dark cutting meat when naturally-occurring samples are not available.



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