Med. Weter. 72 (10), 600-603, 2016

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Magdalena Górska, Dorota Wojtysiak
Importance of intramuscular connective tissue for meat quality
During ageing, meat undergoes many structural and biochemical changes which make it possible to obtain meat of specific taste and physico-chemical parameters. One of the most important quality parameters is meat tenderness and juiciness. This work presents the results of studies concerning the possible effect of intramuscular connective tissue (IMCT) on the final meat quality. The amount, quality and organization of this tissue depend on the type of muscle, as well as its location in the carcass and function in the body. Muscles with high amounts of IMCT are generally less tender due to a considerable collagen content. The breakdown of IMCT network increases collagen solubility and decreases the number of extracellular matrix components, which may lead to increased meat tenderness and reduced meat juiciness. However, the final meat quality is determined not only by the proportion of connective tissue in the muscle structure, the size and organization of collagen fibres, the intramuscular fat content and the total collagen level, but also by the soluble collagen content. The effect of IMCT on the final meat quality requires further research, mainly at the molecular level.
Key words: intramuscular connective tissue, meat quality, tenderness, juiciness