Simple Spot Method of Image Analysis for Evaluation of Highly Marbled Beef

  • Irie, M. (Faculty of Agriculture, University of Miyazaki) ;
  • Kohira, K. (National Livestock Breeding Center)
  • Received : 2011.05.16
  • Accepted : 2011.11.03
  • Published : 2012.04.01


The simple method of evaluating highly marbled beef was examined by image analysis. The images of the cross section at the 6 to 7th rib were obtained from 82 carcasses of Wagyu cattle. By using an overall trace method, the surrounding edges of the longissimus thoracis and three muscles were traced automatically and manually with image analysis. In a spot method, 3 to 5 locations (2.5 or 3.0 cm in diameter) for each muscle were rapidly selected with no manual trace. The images were flattened, binarized, and the ratio of fat area to muscle area was determined. The correlation coefficients for marbling between different muscles, and between the overall trace and the spot methods were 0.55 to 0.81 between different muscles and 0.89 to 0.97, respectively. These results suggested that the simple spot method is speedy and almost as useful as the overall trace method as a measuring technique for beef marbling in loin muscles, especially for highly marbled beef.


Image Analysis;Meat;Marbling;Wagyu


  1. Albrecht, E., J. Wegner and K. Ender. 1996. A new technique for objective evaluation of marbling in beef. Fleischwirtschaft 76:1145-1148.
  2. AMSA. 2001. Meat evaluation handbook. American Meat Science Association, Illinois, USA.
  3. Cameron, P. J., M. Zembayashi, D. K. Lunt, T. Mitsuhashi, M. Mitsumoto, S. Ozawa and S. B. Smith. 1994. Relationship between Japanese beef marbling standard and intramuscular lipid in the M. longissimus thoracis of Japanese Black and American Wagyu cattle. Meat Sci. 38:361-364.
  4. Cross, H. R., D. A. Gilliland, P. R. Durland and S. Seideman. 1983. Beef carcass evaluation by use of a video image analysis system. J. Anim. Sci. 57:910-917.
  5. Gerrard, D. E., X. Gao and J. Tan. 1996. Determining beef marbling and color scores by image processing. J. Food Sci. 61:145-148.
  6. Hollo, G., E. Szucs, J. Tozser, I. Hollo and I. Repa. 2007. Application of X-ray computer tomography (CT) in cattle production. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 20:1901-1908.
  7. Irie, M. and H. J. Swatland. 1993.-Review-Fiber-optic methods and their applications to meat. Nippon Shokuhin Kogyou Gakkaishi 40:747-754.
  8. JMGA. 1988. New beef carcass grading standards. Japan Meat Grading Association, Tokyo.
  9. Karnuah, A. B., K. Moriya, N. Nakanishi, T. Nade, T. Mitsuhashi and Y. Sasaki. 2001. Computer image analysis for prediction of carcass composition from cross-sections of Japanese Black steers. J. Anim. Sci. 79:2851-2856.
  10. Kuchida, K., S. Kono, K. Konishi, L. D. Van Vleck, M. Suzuki and S. Miyoshi. 2000. Prediction of crude fat content of longissimus muscle of beef using the ratio of fat area calculated from computer image analysis: comparison of regression equations for prediction using different input devices at different stations. J. Anim. Sci. 78:799-803.
  11. Nade, T., A. B. Karnuah, Y. Masuda, S. Hirabara and K. Fujita. 2001. Estimation of carcass composition from the cross-section at rib-loin of Japanese Black steers by computer image analysis. Anim. Sci. J. 72:313-320.
  12. Okitani, A. 2002. Factors determining the palatability of meat. Jpn. J. Nutr. Diet. 60:119-129.
  13. Steiner, R., A. M. Wyle, D. J. Vote, K. E. Belk, J. A. Scanga, J. W. Wise, J. D. Tatum and G. C. Smith. 2003. Real-time augmentation of USDA yield grade application to beef carcasses using video image analysis. J. Anim. Sci. 81:2239-2246.
  14. Tan, J. 2004. Meat quality evaluation by computer vision. J. Food Eng. 61:27-35.
  15. Platter, W. J., J. D. Tatum, K. E. Belk, S. R. Koontz, P. L. Chapman and G. C. Smith. 2005. Effects of marbling and shear force on consumers' willingness to pay for beef strip loin steaks. J. Anim. Sci. 83:890-899.
  16. Yang, X. J., E. Albrecht, K. Ender, R. Q. Zhao and J. Wegner. 2006. Computer image analysis of intramuscular adipocytes and marbling in the longissimus muscle of cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 84:3251-3258.
  17. Zembayashi, M., H. Nabeta and T. Mototsuji. 1988. Effects of breeds and nutritional planes on intramuscular lipid deposition of fattening of steers. Jpn. J. Zootech. Sci. 59:39-48.

Cited by

  1. Evaluation of marbling traits by X-ray computed tomography in Hungarian Simmental bulls vol.8, pp.s1, 2017,