PSE Condition

Pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) meat appears to be restricted to pigs for all practical purposes and is a consequence of a particular muscle response to animal stress.

The outcome is a very rapid fall in postmortem pH while the meat is hot, which denatures muscle proteins in such a way that water binding is reduced, and the muscle drips and is soft to the touch (14). The denatured proteins scatter light, giving a pale appearance. Rapid chilling postslaugh-ter reduces the incidence of PSE; although the meat is initially tough, it tenderizes with aging (99). Animal agitation and electrical stimulation increase the occurrence of PSE in certain circumstances (100). However, if electrical stimulation is applied at 20 min postslaughter and the chilling rate is sufficiently fast (eg, deep leg to 10°C in 510 h), then the meat in those animals susceptible to PSE does not show it and the remaining meat avoids cold shortening (101). The situation is further improved by pelvic suspension (102). Hot boning of pork can allow sufficient cooling to prevent PSE (103). Pale, wet muscle can occur in muscles from very large cattle when chilling is suboptimal and is not a result of stress susceptibility as in the case of pork, but rather of high temperatures and low pH. It is never as severe as it is in pigs.

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