Post-mortem changes in the physical meat quality characteristics of refrigerated impala M. longissimus dorsi
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The effect of aging the M. longissimus dorsi of 13 impala at 4ºC over a ten-day period was investigated. Large variation between animals was observed for the percentages drip and cooking loss as well as for the CIELab colour (L*, a*, b*) values. No trend could be observed for these physical characteristics over time. Means for all traits correspond to that reported in the literature for this species. Similarly, the tenderness of the muscle varied between the animals. However, the tenderness (as measured by a Warner Bratzler shear apparatus) of the muscle generally improved with time. The quadratic equation y = -0.0817x2 + 0.4468x + 10.477 best described (R2 = 0.32) this improvement in tenderness. The implications of this result is that fresh game meat producers can de-bone carcasses after 24 hours post mortem and leave the primal cuts to age in vacuum bags in the chiller, thereby utilizing the available chiller space more efficiently.