Most cattle used for food are members of two different species. Those of European origin (i.e., Angus, Hereford, Charolois breeds) are Bos taurus, while those with humped backs (Brahman, zebu) are Bos indicus. Animals with B. indicus breeding give meat that is much less tender than that from the B. taurus breeds. The reason for this difference has been ascribed to the level of calpastatin in the muscle. Calpastatin is an inhibitor of calpains, a class of calcium-activated proteases that are believed to be involved in the tenderness improvement that occurs during postmortem aging. Thus B. indicus muscle has more calpastatin and less postmortem protein breakdown.
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