Comparison of collagen profile and tenderness of muscles from heifers and single-calf cows
The aim of the study was to compare slaughter value, collagen profile, shear force and sensory quality of muscles originating from carcasses of heifers and single-calf cows of Polish Holstein-Friesian x Limousine crossbreds. Eight heifers (540 days old) and eight single-calf cows (836 days old), which were produced in a semi-intensive system, were included in the study. Single-calf cows were heavier than the heifers, which had higher dressing percentages and average daily gains. Calving and age at slaughter did not influence cooking loss of semimembranosus (SEM) and infraspinatus (INF) muscles or the shear force of SEM. The ventral part of the INF muscle from single-calf cows exhibited higher shear force values. In both muscles, higher water-soluble and lower acid-soluble collagen contents were noted in heifers compared with single-calf cows. There were no differences in sensory quality of SEM obtained from the carcasses of single-calf cows and heifers, whereas cross-section appearance, tenderness, juiciness and overall acceptability of INF were scored higher for single-calf cows than for heifers. Thus, it can be concluded that heifers and single-calf cows produce meat with similar eating quality.
Keywords: Beef, crossbreds, connective tissue, meat, sensory quality