This study evaluates the effects of Normal Shortening (NS) and Cold Shortening (CS) in sarcomere length, Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBS) and tenderization process examined by Myofibrillar Fragmentation Index (MFI). The Biceps femoris muscle from ten Dorper x Santa Inês lambs was randomly assigned to 1) NS = cooling of the muscle in the carcass for 24 hours in a cold room at 4°C; or 2) CS = rapid cooling, in ice bath, of the muscle removed from the carcass immediately after slaughter. Sarcomere Length (SL) was determined in the collected samples 24 hours after slaughter and WBS and MFI in the aging periods (1 or 10 days post-mortem). The WBS value of the meat for 1 and 10 days were greater (P<0.05) for CS (4.90 ± 0.42 and 3.73 ± 0.42 kgf, respectively) than NS (4.07 ± 0.36 and 2.98 ± 0.38 kgf, respectively). There were negative correlations between WBS and SL (r= −0.59 and r=−0.69, P< 0.05) at 1 and 10 postmortem, respectively. Furthermore, there were positive correlations for MFI and SL (r= 0.46 and r=0.48, P< 0.05) at days 1 and 10, respectively. These results point to a negative impact of sarcomere cold shortening in the sheep meat tenderization process in the hindlimb muscle.
shear force; myofibrillar; proteolysis; meat; Santa Inês