Postmortem Mechanisms of Meat Tenderization

The Roles of the Structural Proteins and the Calpain System
  • Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan
  • Steven M. Lonergan


The conversion of muscle to meat is a complex process resulting in a set of conditions in postmortem muscle that are vastly different from those in living tissue. Efforts designed to understand the mechanism of postmortem meat tenderization must first define the postmortem biology of muscle tissue. Postmortem meat tenderization is associated with myofibrillar protein degradation. The protease µ-calpain and its endogenous inhibitor calpastatin are implicated as major causative agents/regulators of myofibrillar protein degradation. The interaction between g-calpain, calpastatin and myofibrillar protein substrates is complex, and, on a whole, poorly understood. Postmortem conditions of relatively low temperature, low pH and relatively high ionic strength create conditions which can alter protein conformation and protein interactions. Information regarding post-translational modification and environmentally induced conformational changes of both the calpain system and its substrate proteins can yield important information regarding postmortem meat tenderization


Thin Filament Myofibrillar Protein Meat Tenderization Calpain System Bovine Skeletal Muscle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Huff-Lonergan
    • 1
  • Steven M. Lonergan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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