High Ultimate pH DFD Condition

The process of anaerobic conversion of muscle glycogen to lactic acid after slaughter reaches an end point when the muscle pH falls to about pH 5.5, at which point complete inhibition of the enzymes responsible occurs even if glycogen is still present. The pH reached when glycolysis ceases is termed the ultimate pH. The ultimate pH will be higher if the initial (preslaughter) stores of muscle glycogen are low. In the worst instances of extreme stress, the muscle ultimate pH does not change from immediate postslaughter values. Such high pH values have important consequences for meat quality. The meat is darker in color, firmer in texture, and dry (DFD) and does not keep as well as normal pH meat in vacuum packaging (91).

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