72 (4) 256-263

F. Coopman, A. Van Zeveren , S. De Smet

The double-muscled Belgian Blue Beef breed (DM-BBB), being homozygous for the muscular hypertrophy (mh) allele, has meat quality attributes that differ from ‘normal’ beef cattle. These differences are due to this mutation in the myostatin locus. One of these differences is more tender meat, although this characteristic is in fact not observed in all individual animals. Most animals with this mutation have more tender meat, but some DM-BBB animals, especially those with an extremely muscular conformation, seem to have less tender meat. This is perhaps due to minor genes that influence muscular conformation and are at a higher frequency in these extremely muscular animals. Other genes or mutations also influence meat quality properties. Some are definitely present in DM-BBB; the presence of others is as yet unknown. Meat quality can be improved not only genetically, but also by improving feeding, handling and transportation. In current DM-BBB selection, meat quality is not taken into account. If it is to be considered, then selection should focus on the control of extreme meat quality disorders. Environmental factors may have a greater impact on the overall acceptance of DM-BBB meat.

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