Mechanisms associated with the variation in tenderness of meat from Brahman and Hereford cattle. Academic Article uri icon


  • To study possible mechanisms for differences in meat tenderness, 10 purebred Hereford and 10 American Grey Brahman steers were fed a typical feedlot diet and slaughtered when ultrasound measurements indicated that they had approximately 1 cm of fat thickness at the 12th rib. Longissimus muscle from Brahman cattle was less (P less than .05) tender after 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 d postmortem than muscle from Hereford cattle, but muscle from Hereford cattle showed greater improvement in tenderness from 7 to 14 d postmortem than muscle from Brahman cattle (interaction P less than .05). Cathepsin B or cathepsin B+L activities and the myofibrillar response to elevated ionic strength were not different between breeds, but both could be related to the postmortem increase in tenderness of both breeds. Calcium-dependent protease activity, as modulated by calcium-dependent protease inhibitor, seems to play a major role in the inherent tenderness differences between breeds.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Wheeler, T. L., Savell, J. W., Cross, H. R., Lunt, D. K., & Smith, S. B.

citation count

  • 110

complete list of authors

  • Wheeler, TL||Savell, JW||Cross, HR||Lunt, DK||Smith, SB

publication date

  • December 1990