Raising the nutritional value of beef and beef products to add value in beef production

N. D. Scollan, J. F. Hocquette, R. I. Richardson, E. J. Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Consumers are becoming more health conscious and this is leading to a growing preference for healthier, more nutritious and more functional food products. For beef, much attention has focused on fat content and fatty acid composition. In relation to the fatty acid composition of beef, intramuscular fat (IMF) is the most important fat depot and it also plays an important role in the eating quality of beef. Beef can be low fat (less than 6%) and nutritional opportunities exist to produce beef characterised by a lower content of atherogenic saturated fatty acids, higher content of more beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids and a lower n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio. Nutrition is the major route for increasing the content of beneficial fatty acids in beef. Feeding grass or concentrates containing linseed (rich in alpha-linolenic acid, 18:3 n-3) in the diet increases the content of 18:3 n-3 and its longer chain derivative eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3) in beef muscle resulting in a lower n-6:n-3 ratio. Feeding ruminally protected lipids result in further increases in the PUFA in meat with improvements in the ratio of polyunsaturated:saturated fatty acids (P:S ratio) and n-6:n-3 ratio. One of the major challenges to further enhancement of 'positive fats' in beef is a requirement for increased knowledge of ruminal biohydrogenation of dietary PUFA and development of nutritional strategies to deliver beef enriched with beneficial fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acid composition of beef products may be readily changed by incorporating sources of long chain PUFA during manufacture with little impact on sensory properties provided protective antioxidants are included. It is evident that opportunities exist to enhance the content of health promoting fatty acids in beef, and beef products, offering opportunities to add value and contribute to market differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNutrition and Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationMajor Issues confronting the meat industry
EditorsJ. D. Wood, C. Rowlings
PublisherNottingham University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781907284779
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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