South African Journal of Animal Science

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Effects of post mortem temperature on rigor tension, shortening and pH in ostrich muscle

S StC. Botha, LC Hoffman, TJ Britz


Fully developed rigor mortis in muscle is characterised by maximum loss of extensibility. The course of post mortem changes in ostrich muscle was studied by following isometric tension, shortening and change in pH during the first 24 h post mortem within muscle strips from the muscularis gastrocnemius, pars interna at constant temperatures of 7 °C and 37 °C. Maximum shortening was significantly higher at 37 °C (33.4 ± 3.57%) than at 7 °C (10.7 ± 2.63%). The rate of rigor development was temperature dependent, reaching a maximum tension at 4.08 ± 3.89 h post mortem in muscle strips at 37 °C; while at 7 °C maximum tension was reached at 10.5 ± 6.47 h post mortem. It was concluded that the completion of rigor occurred at the point of minimum pH.

Keywords: Rigor mortis, rigor tension, muscle shortening, ostrich, rigor shortening, cold-shortening, hot-deboning, rate of pH decline

South African Journal of Animal Science Vol. 38 (3) 2008: pp. 184-192
AJOL African Journals Online