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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.19.0804    [Accepted] Published online January 13, 2020.
Effect of stress during slaughter on carcass characteristics and meat quality in tropical beef cattle
Apolo A. Carrasco-García1,*  , Violeta T. Pardío-Sedas1  , Gloria G. León-Banda1, Concepción Ahuja-Aguirre1  , Pedro Paredes-Ramos1  , Bertha C. Hernández-Cruz1  , Vicente Vega Murillo1 
Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Veracruzana. Circunvalación S/N Esq. Yáñez, Col. Unidad Veracruzana, C.P. 91710, Veracruz, Veracruz, México
Correspondence:  Apolo A. Carrasco-García,Email: vpardio@yahoo.com.mx
Received: 15 October 2019   • Revised: 6 December 2019   • Accepted: 6 January 2020
This study aimed to determine the effects of stress during slaughter of beef cattle on physiological parameters, carcass, and meat quality at a Federal Inspection Type slaughterhouse located in the southeast of Mexico.
A total of 448 carcasses of male Zebu × European steers with an average age of 36 months were included. Carcass assessment of presence of bruises and bruise characteristics was carried out on each half-carcass. Blood variable indicators of stress (packed cell volume, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio, glucose, cortisol concentration) and meat quality parameters (pH, color, shear force, drip loss) were evaluated.
Of the 448 carcasses evaluated, 81% of the carcasses showed at least one bruise; one bruise was detected in 36.6% and two bruises in 27.0% of animals. Of the 775 bruises found, 69.2% of the bruises were grade 1 in region 3. Of the 448 carcasses studied, 69.6% showed hyperglycemia (6.91 mmol/L); 44.3% and 22.7% showed high (74.7 ng/mL) and extremely high (108.8 ng/mL) cortisol levels, respectively, indicative of inadequate handling of animals during preslaughter and slaughter. Of the carcasses evaluated, 90.4% had a pH ≥5.8 with an average of pH 6.3. In both pH groups, meat samples showed L* values >37.0 (81.6%) and a shear force >54.3 N; meat pH ≥5.8 group showed a drip loss of 2.5%. These findings were indicative of DFD meat. According to PCA, grades 1 and 2 bruises in region 3 and grade 1 bruises in region 5 were highly associated with cortisol, drip loss, and color parameters b* and h* and were negatively associated with L*, a*, and C*.
The bruises probably caused by stress-inducing situations triggered DFD meat. Appropriate changes in handling routines in operating conditions should be made to minimize stress to animals during the slaughter process to improve animal welfare and meat quality.
Keywords: Bovine; Slaughter; Stress; Cortisol; Meat Quality

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