The colour and colour stability of beef Longissimus dorsi and Semimembranosus muscles after effective electrical stimulation.
ABSTRACT The influence of effective low voltage electrical stimulation (ES) of beef on the colour and colour stability of longissimus dorsi (LD) and semimembranosus (SM) muscles, during storage and retail display was studied by tristimulus colorimetry and reflectance spectrophotometry. ES had no significant effect on the colour of the LD muscles, but some significant effects on SM muscles of ultimate pH 5·5-5·7. Three hours after slicing into steaks at 5 days post mortem, stimulated SM muscles had a paler/lighter colour than non-stimulated controls. During a retail display of 3 days, all steaks exhibited a loss of colour quality manifested in loss of redness and decreases in both hue and chroma (saturation). These changes were most marked in the stimulated SM muscles, and analysis indicated that they were due almost exclusively to the formation of metmyoglobin (metMb). Ageing the meat, as primals cuts, for 33 days at 0°C led to no significant differences in the perceived colour three hours after slicing. The colour changes observed during the 3-day retail display of steaks occurred more rapidly in both (ES and non-ES) 33 day-aged samples than in the 5 day-aged ones. The result of this was that the colour stability of non-stimulated steaks prepared at 33 days was similar to that of ES steaks prepared fresh (5 day post mortem). In SM muscles of pH 5·8-6·0 the apparent differences in colour of the ES and non-ES samples were not significant. However, meat of pH > 5·8, although darker than meat of lesser pH, had less tendency to form metmyoglobin during retail display. The present work also confirmed that seemingly small differences in display conditions, especially temperature, have a marked effect on metmyoglobin formation.