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Genetic and phenotypic characterisation of animal, carcass, and meat quality traits from temperate and tropically adapted beef breeds. 4. Correlations among animal, carcass, and meat quality traits

A. Reverter, D. J. Johnston, D. M. Ferguson, D. Perry, M. E. Goddard, H. M. Burrow, V. H. Oddy, J. M. Thompson and B. M Bindon

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 54(2) 149 - 158
Published: 04 March 2003


Beef cattle data from temperate (TEMP, n = 3947) and tropically (TROP, n = 4137) adapted breeds were analysed to compute estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations between animal, abattoir carcass, and meat quality measures. Live animal traits included: liveweight (S2LWT), scanned subcutaneous rump fat depth (S2P8), scanned eye muscle area (S2EMA), flight time (S1FT), and finishing average daily gain (FADG). Carcass traits included: hot carcass weight (CWT), retail beef yield percentage (RBY), intramuscular fat percentage (IMF), subcutaneous rump fat depth (P8), eye muscle length by width (ELW), and meat colour score (MEATC). Meat quality measures taken on 2 muscles [M. longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) and M. semitendinosus (ST)] included: shear force of LTL (LTL_SF) and ST (ST_SF); compression of the ST (ST_C); cooking loss % of the LTL (LTL_CL%) and ST (ST_CL%); Minolta LTL L* (LTL_L*), a* (LTL_a*), ST a* (ST_a*); and consumer-assessed LTL tenderness score (LTL_TEND). Genetic and phenotypic correlations between animal measures and related carcass traits were moderate to very high for TEMP and TROP. Genetic correlations between S2LWT and CWT were 0.89 and 0.82, between S2P8 and P8 0.80 and 0.88, and between S2EMA and ELW 0.62 and 0.68, for TEMP and TROP, respectively. Genetic correlations between animal measures and other carcass traits varied; moderate genetic correlations were estimated between S2P8 and RBY (–0.57, –0.19 for TEMP, TROP) and S2P8 and IMF (0.39, 0.23 for TEMP, TROP). Genetic correlations between animal and meat quality measures were moderate to low. For TEMP, moderate genetic correlations were estimated between S2P8 and LTL_TEND (0.38), FADG and ST_a* (–0.49), and FADG and LTL_TEND (0.45); and for TROP, S1FT and LTL_SF (–0.54), and S2EMA and LTL_L* (–0.46). Phenotypic correlations between animal and meat quality were generally low and close to zero. Several moderate to high genetic correlations existed between carcass and meat quality traits. In general, fatness measures were genetically correlated with tenderness (e.g. IMF and LTL_TEND 0.61, 0.31 for TEMP, TROP). CWT was genetically correlated with meat colour (CWT and LTL_L* 0.66, 0.60 for TEMP, TROP) and objective tenderness measures (CWT and ST_C –0.52, –0.22 for TEMP, TROP). Once again phenotypic correlations between carcass and meat quality were low, indicating that few phenotypic predictors of meat quality traits were identified. Several of the genetic correlations show that both animal and abattoir carcass traits may be of use as indirect measures for carcass and meat quality traits in multiple trait genetic evaluation systems.

Keywords: beef, carcass quality, genetic correlation, phenotypic correlation.

© CSIRO 2003

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