Meat Science
Technical information

meat science

Targeting growth rates for MSA

Central Queensland Brahman breeders, David and Rebecca Comiskey, Melton, Alpha have achieved excellent results selling through the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) system, despite being located 450km from the nearest meat processor.

Increased muscling reduces dark cutting

New Beef CRC-funded research conducted by Murdoch University has shown that increased muscularity is a factor associated with lower ultimate carcass pH, leading to a reduced incidence of dark cutting.


With meat processing the optimal chilling rate represents a balance between the control of microbiological growth and meat tenderness.

The trouble with ageing

The relationship between carcass temperature, ageing and ultimate tenderness was a critical discovery during the development of MSA.

DNA Markers under the microscope

As part of its role in delivering DNA markers to the Australian beef industry, Beef CRC has agreed to independently test new panels of DNA markers as they are commercialised by companies such as Pfizer Animal Genetics, Igenity /Merial and Metamorphix Inc.

Contribution of lean, fat and degree of doneness to meat flavour

Tenderness, juiciness and flavour are the three factors on which consumers judge cooked meat. Flavour is often rated the most important, but is also the least understood. Meat flavour intensity can be affected by the lean-to-fat ratio, degree of doneness, lipid oxidation and other factors.

Hormonal growth promotants and meat quality

Hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) are used extensively in northern Australia and the feedlot industry. They are used to a lesser extent in southern Australia and are banned in Tasmania. HGPs are used to improve the rate of liveweight gain and the feed efficiency of cattle by producing a hormone that is very similar in structure to the animal’s natural hormone. In excess of 2.5 million doses are sold annually in Australia and of these about half are used in pasture-fed steers in northern Australia.

Research and development of trial Brahman BREEDPLAN Tenderness EBVM

The recently completed SmartGene for Beef project identified significant effects of the GeneSTAR tenderness markers on meat tenderness as recorded by the objective measure of shear force. These results have allowed us to further develop the concept of combining EBVs (i.e. phenotypic and pedigree data) and gene marker information into a single marker-assisted EBV.

Genetic Markers for Beef Tenderness

The world’s first gene marker for beef tenderness was recently discovered by researchers working in the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Cattle and Beef Quality. This complements the world’s first and only other gene marker test for a production trait, the discovery of the TG5 marbling gene, also discovered by Dr Bill Barendse from CSIRO Livestock Industries, Brisbane.

Simple, Indirect Selection for Beef Tenderness

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Cattle and Beef Quality recently identified a simple, indirect criterion that breeders can use on-property to select for beef tenderness. CRC results show strong favourable genetic relationships between beef tenderness and Meat Standards Australia (MSA) overall eating quality (MQ4 score) and the flight time of an animal. An animal’s flight time is an electronic measure of the amount of time taken by an animal to cover ~2 m after it leaves a weighing crush, with fast times indicating animals that have poor temperaments.

Early Setbacks can cause tougher beef

New research has found that managing the growth rate of cattle from weaning is just as important as what they are fed in the feedlot in terms of determining meat quality and yield.

What do we know about getting fat into muscle?

Despite all the hype, world literature suggests that marbling only explains 10 to 15% of the variance in palatability. Meat Standards Australia (MSA) research basically agrees and shows that the contribution of marbling to palatability was significant and important, but just one of many factors determining final palatability.

Changes in tenderness of a range of beef muscles with ageing

There is renewed interest in opportunities to upgrade the quality and value of certain cuts of beef such as chuck, topside, silverside and thick flank.

New light on tenderness and the calpain system

While much has been learned about the practical factors affecting tenderness of meat, investigations continue into what happens inside the cells. Scientists in CRC III are aiming for a deeper understanding of body chemistry and its genetic controls in the hope this knowledge will lead to new ways to produce more tender beef.