Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Beefing up the Sunday roast

05.08.2008
The Sunday roast on our dinner tables has the potential to be packed with bags more natural flavour, say scientists at The University of Nottingham.

Professor Kin-Chow Chang, of the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, is leading a three-year study into two different muscle fibre types that play a huge part in the appearance, texture and taste of the meat that we eat.

In the long-term, the results from studies like these could arm farmers with more information on which animals to use for breeding to achieve the tastiest cuts of meat without sacrificing high production values.

Professor Chang’s study, funded with more than £400,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, will focus on the differences between fast muscle fibres and slow muscle fibres.

Slow muscle fibres, otherwise known as oxidative or red muscle, is associated with the most sought-after qualities of meat such as flavour intensity or tenderness whereas meat from fast muscle fibres, which tend to be bulkier and grow more rapidly, is considered to be tougher and drier.

Packed with capillaries, mitochondria and myoglobin that give the meat its darker colour, slow muscle fibres are more efficient at converting sugar and fatty acids to energy and, although slower to contract, will therefore function for longer before tiring. These are usually associated with animals that are living free range and are on the move for longer and produce flavoursome meat.

Farmers and consumers are currently faced with the problem that breeds chosen because they can grow quicker and produce larger quantities of meat and are therefore economically more attractive tend to predominantly produce fast muscle.

Professor Chang said: “Genetically, we have been very successful in breeding animals that can grow very quickly but the down side is that comes at the price of eating quality.

“The work we are doing focuses on finding out more at a molecular level about how fast muscle can switch to slow muscle and could lead to a better understanding of how to genetically choose animals for breeding that will produce better quality meat.”

The issue of fast and slow muscle affects all meat but is particularly pertinent to pork, chicken, lamb and beef in which animals are chosen for breeding according to how fast they grow and how much meat each animal can produce.

For example, in poultry farming broiler chickens take just six weeks to grow from hatching to slaughter and grow much faster than hens produced for egg production. However, the breast meat produced is often criticised as being bland in flavour.

The lab-based science being conducted at Nottingham is concentrating on a particular cell signalling pathway called the calcineuring pathway which, if stimulated, causes muscle to switch from fast to slow.

Learning more about this process could lead to the identification of genes important in the growth of slow muscle and allow farmers to use the wealth of genetic diversity that exists in animals to breed naturally tastier and succulent meat.

Part of the funding for the project will come from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer as an industrial partnership, reflecting the potential that the project may have in the development of new pharmacological products to safely target the growth of slow muscle in existing meat-producing breeds.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
http://communications.nottingham.ac.uk/News/Article/Beefing_up_the_Sunday_roast.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>