Impact of myoglobin oxygenation state prior to frozen storage on color stability of thawed beef steaks through retail display

M. L. Henriott, N. J. Herrera, F. A. Ribeiro, K. B. Hart, N. A. Bland, K. Eskridge, C. R. Calkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Consumers consider beef color to be an indicator of freshness and therefore it is a major factor when purchasing beef. The ideal conditions for maintaining color throughout retail display following frozen storage have yet to be well established. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of myoglobin oxygenation levels (especially high oxygenation) during freezing on color stability of thawed steaks during retail display (RD) and to determine the impact that frozen storage duration, aging, and packaging films have on meat color after thawing under RD conditions. USDA Choice strip loins (n = 36) were aged for 4 or 20 d. Steaks were randomly assigned to a myoglobin oxygenation level [deoxymyoglobin (DeOxy; packaged within 3 min), oxygenation (Oxy; oxygenated in air for 30 min), or high oxygenation (HiOxy; packaged for 24 h in 80% O2)]. Steaks were then vacuum packaged in oxygen permeable or impermeable film and immediately frozen (−10 °C). Following either 0, 2, 4, or 6 months of frozen storage at -5 °C, steaks were removed from the packaging and immediately placed under simulated RD conditions for 7 d. During RD, instrumental color and subjective color were measured every day after the initial 24 h thaw period. Steaks were analyzed for instrumental color (L*, a*, b*), a*:b* ratio, percentage oxymyoglobin, metmyoglobin, and deoxymyoglobin, delta E, redness ratio, subjective discoloration, and lipid oxidation. For all days of RD, steaks that were frozen for 0 months had higher a* values (greater redness) than steaks frozen for 6 months which typically had the lowest a* values (P <.0001). HiOxy steaks frozen for 6 months had the lowest amounts of percentage oxymyoglobin than all other frozen storage periods and myoglobin oxygenation levels on days 4–7 of RD (P <.05). The HiOxy steaks frozen for 4 and 6 months had higher percentage metmyoglobin than DeOxy and Oxy, regardless of packaging (P <.05). Delta E, discoloration, and lipid oxidation were greatest for HiOxy steaks compared to Oxy and DeOxy (P <.05). Extended storage brought about detrimental color effects for all differing levels of myoglobin oxygenation. The HiOxy steaks through the first few days of RD and frozen for under 6 months provided had bright cherry red color, similar to that of DeOxy and Oxy. However, with extended frozen storage and RD, HiOxy steaks had worse color characteristics (more discoloration) than the other myoglobin oxygenation levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108232
JournalMeat Science
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Discoloration
  • Frozen storage
  • Oxymyoglobin
  • Retail display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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