Quality Assessment of Longissimus and Semitendinosus Muscles from Beef Cattle Subjected to Non-penetrative and Penetrative Percussive Stunning Methods

  • Sazili, A.Q. (Department of Animal Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Norbaiyah, B. (Department of Animal Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Zulkifli, I. (Department of Animal Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Goh, Y.M. (Department of Veterinary Preclinical Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Lotfi, M. (AHFS Australian Halal Food Services, Highpoint Business Centre) ;
  • Small, A.H. (CSIRO FD McMaster Research Laboratory)
  • Received : 2012.10.10
  • Accepted : 2012.12.27
  • Published : 2013.05.01


This study provides a comparative analysis of the effects of pre-slaughter penetrative and non-penetrative stunning and post-slaughter stunning on meat quality attributes in longissimus lumborum (LL) and semitendinosus (ST) muscles in heifers. Ten animals were assigned to each of four treatment groups: i) animals were subjected to conventional Halal slaughter (a clean incision through the structures at the front of the upper neck - the trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries and jugular veins) and post-cut penetrating mechanical stun within 10 to 20 s of the neck cut (Unstunned; US); ii) high power non-penetrating mechanical stunning followed by the neck cut (HPNP); iii) low power non-penetrating mechanical stunning followed by the neck cut (LPNP); and iv) penetrative stunning using a captive bolt pistol followed by the neck cut (P). For each carcass, muscle samples were removed within 45 min of slaughter, portioned and analysed for pH, cooking loss, water holding capacity (WHC), tenderness (WBS), lipid oxidation (TBARS) and color, over a two week storage period. Stunning did not affect pH and cooking loss. Significant differences in water holding capacity, tenderness, lipid oxidation and color were present at different storage time points. HPNP stunning resulted in lower WHC and color values, particularly lightness ($L^*$), higher TBARS values and peak force values compared with those stunned using LPNP, P and US. These adverse effects on quality were mostly encountered in the ST muscle. In conclusion, the meat quality achieved using P, LPNP and US treatments was comparable, and no treatment stood out as considerably better than another.


  1. Petersen, G. V. and D. K. Blackmore. 1982. The effect of different slaughter methods on the post-mortem glycolysis of muscle in lambs. NZ. Vet. J. 30:195-198.
  2. SAS Institute. 2005. $SAS^{(R})$ 9.1.3 Language Reference: Concepts, Third Edition Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.
  3. Seydim, A. C., J. C. Acton, M. A. Hall and P. L. Dawson. 2006. Effect of packaging atmospheres on shelf-life quality of ground ostrich meat. Meat Sci. 73:503-510.
  4. Schafer, A., K. Rosenvold, P. P. Purslow, H. J. Andersen and P. Henckel. 2002. Physiological and structural events post-mortem of importance for drip loss in pork. Meat Sci. 61:355-366.
  5. Simmons, N. J., O. A. Young, P. M. Dobbie, K. Singh, B. C. Thompson and P. A. Speck. 1997. Post-mortem calpain-system kinetics in lamb: effects of clenbuterol and preslaughter exercise. Meat Sci. 47:135-146.
  6. Velarde, A., M. Gispert, A. Diestre and X. Manteca 2003. Effect of electrical stunning on meat and carcass quality in lambs. Meat Sci. 63:35-38.
  7. Vergara, H., R. Bornez and M. B. Linares. 2009. $CO_2$ stunning procedure on Manchego light lambs: Effect on meat quality. Meat Sci. 83:517-522.
  8. Vergara, H., M. B. Linares, M. I. Berrugaand and L. Gallego. 2005. Meat quality in suckling lambs: effect of pre-slaughter handling. Meat Sci. 69:473-478.
  9. Vergara, H. and L. Gallego. 2000. Effect of electrical stunning on meat quality of lamb. Meat Sci. 56:345-349.
  10. Witte, V. C., G. F. Krause and M. E. Bailey. 1970. A new extraction method for determining 2-thiobarbituric acid values of pork and beef during storage. J. Food Sci. 35:582-585.
  11. Huff-Lonergan, E., T. Mitsuhashi, D. D. Beekman, F. C. Jr. Parrish, D. G. Olson and R. M. Robson. 1996. Proteolysis of specific muscle structural proteins by mu-calpain at low pH and temperature is similar to degradation in post-mortem bovine muscle. J. Anim. Sci. 74:993-1008.
  12. Insausti, K., M. J. Beriain, A. Purroy, P. Alberti, C. Gorraiz and M. J. Alzueta. 2001. Shelf life of beef from local Spanish cattle breeds stored under modified atmosphere. Meat Sci. 57:273-281.
  13. Juncher, D., B. Ronn, T. B. Hansen, P. Henckel, A. Karlsson, L. H. Skibsted and G. Bertelsen. 2003. Effect of pre-slaughter physiological conditions on the oxidative stability of color and lipid during chill storage of sliced, retail packed roast ham. Meat Sci. 63:151-159.
  14. Kristensen, L. and P. P. Purslow. 2001. The effect of ageing on the water-holding capacity of pork: role of cytoskeletal proteins. Meat Sci. 58:17-23.
  15. Lensink, B. J., X. Fernandez, G. Cozzi, L. Florand and I. Vessier. 2001. The influence of farmers' behavoiur on calves' reactions to transport and quality of veal meat. J. Anim. Sci. 79:642-652.
  16. Linares, M. B., M. I. Berruga, R. Bornez and H. Vergara. 2007. Lipid oxidation in lamb meat: Effect of the weight, handling previous slaughter and modified atmospheres. Meat Sci. 76:715-720.
  17. Martinez, L., D. Djenane, I. Cilla, J. A. Beltran and P. Roncales. 2005. Effect of different concentrations of carbon dioxide and low concentration of carbon monoxide on the shelf-life of fresh pork sausages packaged in modified atmosphere. Meat Sci. 71:563-570.
  18. Melody, J. L., S. M. Lonergan, L. J. Rowe, T. W. Huiatt, M. S. Mayes and E. Huff-Lonergan. 2004. Early post-mortem biochemical factors influence tenderness and water holding capacity of three porcine muscles. J. Anim. Sci. 82:1195-1205.
  19. Mohan Raj, A. B., T. C. Grey, A. R. Audsley and N. G. Gregory. 1990. Effect of electrical and gaseous stunning on the carcase and meat quality of broilers. Br. Poult. Sci. 31:725-733.
  20. Morrissey, P. A., P. J. A. Sheehy, K. Galvin, J. P. Kerry and D. J. Buckley. 1998. Lipid stability in meat and meat products. Meat Sci. 49:S73-S86.
  21. Mournier, L., H. Dubroeucq, S. Andanson and I. Vessier 2006. Variations in meat pH of beef bulls in relation to conditions of transfer to slaughter and previous history of the animals. J. Anim. Sci. 84:1567-1576.
  22. Northcutt, J. K., R. J. Buhr and L. L. Young. 1998. Influence of pre slaughter stunning on turkey breast muscle quality. Poult. Sci. 77:487-492.
  23. Onenc, A. and A. Kaya. 2004. The effects of electrical stunning and percussive captive bolt stunning on meat quality of cattle processed by Turkish slaughter procedures. Meat Sci. 66:809-815.
  24. Paulick, C., F. A. Stolle and von G. Mickwitz. 1989. The influence of different stunning methods on meat quality of sheep meat. Fleischwirtsch. 69:227-230.
  25. AQIS. 2006. Malaysian requirements for the slaughter, processing and storage of Halal meat. In: Export Meat Manual Vol. 2; DAFF Canberra.
  26. Berruga, M. L., H. Vergara and L. Gallego. 2005. Influence of packaging conditions on microbial and lipid oxidation in lamb meat. Small Rumin. Res. 57:257-264.
  27. Bond, J. J., L. A. Can and R. D. Warner. 2004. The effect of exercise stress, adrenaline injection and electrical stimulation on changes in quality attributes and proteins in semimembranosus muscle of lamb. Meat Sci. 68:469-477.
  28. Bond, J. J. and R. D.Warner. 2007. Ion distribution and protein proteolysis affect water holding capacity of longissimus thoracis et lumborum in meat of lamb subjected to antemortem exercise. Meat Sci. 75:406-414.
  29. Bouton, P. E. and P. V. Harris. 1972. A comparison of some objective methods used to assess meat tenderness. J. Food Sci. 37:218-221.
  30. Bouton, P. E., P. V. Harris and W. R. Shorthose. 1971. Effect of ultimate pH upon the water-holding capacity and tenderness of mutton. J. Food Sci. 36:435-439.
  31. Bornez, R., M. B. Linares and H. Vergara. 2009. Microbial quality and lipid oxidation of Manchega breed suckling lamb meat: Effect of stunning method and modified atmosphere packaging. Meat Sci. 83:383-389.
  32. Bray, A. R., A. E. Graafhuis and B. B. Chrystall. 1989. The cumulative effect of nutritional, shearing and pre slaughter washing stresses on the quality of lamb meat. Meat Sci. 25:59-67.
  33. Buckley, D. J., P. A. Morissey and J. I. Gray. 1995. Influence of dietary vitamin E on the oxidative stability and quality of pig meat. J. Anim. Sci. 73:3122-3130.
  34. Channon, H. A., A. M. Payne and R. D. Warner. 2002. Comparison of $CO_2$ stunning with manual electrical stunning (50 Hz) of pigs on carcass and meat quality. Meat Sci. 60:63-68.
  35. Finnie, J. W. 1995. Neuropathological changes produced by non-penetrating percussive captive bolt stunning of cattle. NZ. Vet. J. 43:183-185.
  36. Grandin, T. 2009. Recommended captive bolt stunning techniques for cattle.
  37. Gregory, N. and F. Gand Shaw. 2000. Penetrating captive bolt stunning and exsanguinations of cattle in abattoirs. J. Appl. Anim. Welf. Sci. 3:215-230.

Cited by

  1. Physico-chemical characteristics of Longissimus lumborum muscle in goats subjected to halal slaughter and anesthesia (halothane) pre-slaughter vol.86, pp.12, 2015,
  2. Comparison of carcass and meat quality in goats subjected to preslaughter head-only electrical stunning or slaughtered without stunning pp.1947-6345, 2016,
  3. Carcase characteristics and meat quality assessments in goats subjected to slaughter without stunning and slaughter following different methods of electrical stunning vol.16, pp.3, 2017,
  4. Ethical food and the kosher certification: a literature review vol.120, pp.10, 2018,
  5. Comparison of Blood Loss and Meat Quality Characteristics in Korean Black Goat Subjected to Head-Only Electrical Stunning or without Stunning vol.38, pp.6, 2018,