Chronological age and breed-type effects on carcass characteristics and palatability of bull beef.
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Bulls (n = 115) of four slaughter ages (9, 12, 15 or 18 months) and of 15 genotypes were studied. In this analysis, each bullock was assigned to one of four breed groups-British and British crosses, Brahman and Brahman crosses. Jersey and Jersey crosses or Holstein and Holstein crosses. Slaughter age had an (P < 001) effect on marbling score, longissimus muscle area, fat thickness and yield grade while breed group had an (P < 001) effect on marbling score and quality grade. In general, British and British cross bullocks produced carcasses with the thickest subcutaneous fat, the highest marbling score and the highest USDA quality grade while Jersey and Jersey cross bullocks yielded carcasses with the lowest weight, smallest longissimus muscle area and the lowest USDA quality grade of the four breed-type groups. Increases in chronological age (from 9 to 18 months) were generally associated with a decrease in USDA maturity score, and increases in marbling score, USDA quality grade, longissimus muscle area, subcutaneous fat thickness and USDA yield grade. Shear force values decreased as bulls matured from 9 to 18 months of age. The meat from Brahman-type bulls had higher shear force values (P < 001) than that from bulls of the other breed groups. Steaks from British-type carcasses received the highest numerical ratings for sustained juiciness and flavor while steaks from the Brahman-type carcasses were assigned the lowest numerical ratings for juiciness. Breed-type had a greater effect on tenderness of bull beef than did chronological age.