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Ryder, K., Ha, M., Bekhit, A. E.-D., & Carne, A., Food Chemistry, (2015) 172C, 197206.
Development of procedures to tenderise tougher cuts of meat to improve eating quality and add value is of interest to consumers and the meat industry respectively. During the traditional ageing process of meat, enzymes naturally present in meat partially break down some proteins in meat to tenderise it. This process is less effective with tougher meat cuts, hence there is interest in developing procedures for adding additional enzymes to tenderise meat. Our research reported here investigated the ability of some commercially available food grade enzyme preparations (which we identified to each contain several different enzymes) to break down meat proteins. The myofibril fibres in meat control the structure and function of muscle meat. The connective tissue protein component influences meat toughness. We prepared myofibril and connective tissue extracts from beef topside muscle and beef tendon respectively and compared the extent to which the food grade enzyme preparations broke down particular muscle proteins. We showed that the enzyme preparations were able to breakdown two proteins in myofibrils (called desmin and troponin) that help to hold meat structure and influence meat tenderness. We also showed that the enzyme preparations broke down the main connective tissue protein (called collagen). The results reported here show that the enzyme preparations evaluated have considerable potential for application in meat tenderisation in that they can break down specific proteins that control meat structure and toughness.