Muscle Structure And Function Definition of Meat and Muscle

Meat comes from the striated muscle of vertebrates. Some of the characteristics of the live muscle underlying meat quality, such as energy stores, connective tissue, and fat, are present at the time of death (see "Animal Factors Affecting Meat Quality," later in this article) and will affect the final meat quality. Other aspects of meat quality, particularly toughness, are affected by processing conditions that interact with some preslaughter attributes.

The muscles of a carcass, whatever the species, perform different functions while the animal is alive and are reflected in differences in physiology, structure, and biochemistry. The variation in these components underlies the differences between the various meat cuts, the use to which they are put, and the way they are cooked. The two major contributors of the muscle that have a bearing on meat quality and underpin meat science are the myofibrillar and the connective tissue proteins. To understand what happens when muscle changes into meat, including differences between the various meat cuts, it is necessary to consider the structure, biochemistry, and physiology of these proteins in detail.

Muscle tissue contracts in the living animal and can also contract after slaughter. The amount of shortening either before or after death is governed by skeletal restraint and the effect of antagonistic muscles. Figures 1 and 2 (1) show a muscle with its attachment to bones and a sequence of pictures of increasing magnification to show the structure of a single muscle fibril, 50 to 100 /¿m in diameter, at the electron microscope level.

Hip bone

Femur

Hip bone

Femur

M. semitendinosus

Ischiatic tuberosity

-Tendinous intersection

M. semitendinosus

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Responses

  • bertha
    How is it healthy muscle structure in meats?
    7 months ago

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