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South African Journal of Animal Science

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Mitochondrial functionality and beef colour: A review of recent research

R Ramanathan, M.N. Nair, M.C. Hunt, S.P. Suman

Abstract


The bright-red colour of meat that consumers prefer depends on the depth of oxygen diffusion into the tissue and myoglobin oxygenation. Interestingly, both processes are influenced by mitochondrial activity in postmortem muscle. The transition of muscle metabolism from aerobic to anaerobic pathways affects various cellular processes including mitochondrial functionality. Numerous studies report that even with compromised structure, mitochondria continue to influence postmortem beef colour via oxygen consumption and metmyoglobin reducing activity. Hence, an in-depth understanding of the pre- and post-harvest factors affecting mitochondrial functionality can significantly enhance existing knowledge of meat colour and colour stability. Several comprehensive reviews have discussed the biochemical factors affecting meat colour, but there are only a few that have sections on the impact of mitochondria on beef colour. Furthermore, advancement of high-throughput techniques such as metabolomics and proteomics has enabled researchers to elucidate metabolite and protein changes related to mitochondria. Therefore, the objective of this review is to provide an overview on the role of mitochondria in beef colour, with a focus on recent advances in mitochondrial research, oxygen consumption, and metmyoglobin reducing ability.

Keywords: Myoglobin, metmyoglobin reducing activity, meat colour, metabolomics, oxygen consumption, proteomics




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