Biomolecular Interactions Governing Fresh Meat Color in Post-mortem Skeletal Muscle: A Review

Ranjith Ramanathan, Surendranath P. Suman, Cameron Faustman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Appearance is an important sensory property that significantly influences consumers' perceptions of fresh meat quality. Failure to meet consumer expectations can lead to rejection of meat products, concomitant loss in value, and potential production of organic waste. Immediately after animal harvest, skeletal muscle metabolism changes from aerobic to anaerobic. However, anoxic post-mortem muscle is biochemically active, and biomolecular interaction between myoglobin, mitochondria, metabolites, and lipid oxidation determines meat color. This review examines how metabolites and mitochondrial activity can influence myoglobin oxygenation and metmyoglobin reducing activity. Further, the review highlights recent research that has examined myoglobin redox dynamics, sarcoplasmic metabolite changes, and/or post-mortem biochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12779-12787
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 18 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • antioxidants
  • lipid oxidation
  • metabolites
  • metmyoglobin reduction
  • mitochondria
  • myoglobin
  • oxygen consumption
  • vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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