Beef colour development and variation University of Connecticut, USA
Ante-mortem stress and post-mortem muscle pH influence meat colour through their effect on mitochondria. As a result, mitochondrial activity has received significant research focus to better understand processes that compete for oxygen and regenerate reducing equivalents in post-mortem muscle (Faustman and Cassens, 1990). More specifically, competition for oxygen between mitochondria and myoglobin is the limiting factor responsible for the development of bright cherry-red surface colour. Research also indicates that mitochondria can improve colour stability by regenerating reducing equivalents necessary for metmyoglobin reduction (Tang, 2005b). The practical implications of mitochondrial activity are evident in dark cutting beef (high pH) as well as the effects of ageing and injection-enhancement technology on colour.