Enhancing the nutritional and health value of beef lipids and their relationship with meat quality

Nigel D. Scollan*, Dirk Dannenberger, Karin Nuernberg, Ian Richardson, Siân MacKintosh, Jean Francois Hocquette, Aidan P. Moloney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on dietary approaches to control intramuscular fat deposition to increase beneficial omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and conjugated linoleic acid content and reduce saturated fatty acids in beef. Beef lipid trans-fatty acids are considered, along with relationships between lipids in beef and colour shelf-life and sensory attributes. Ruminal lipolysis and biohydrogenation limit the ability to improve beef lipids. Feeding omega-3 rich forage increases linolenic acid and long-chain PUFA in beef lipids, an effect increased by ruminally-protecting lipids, but consequently may alter flavour characteristics and shelf-life. Antioxidants, particularly α-tocopherol, stabilise high concentrations of muscle PUFA. Currently, the concentration of long-chain omega-3 PUFA in beef from cattle fed non-ruminally-protected lipids falls below the limit considered by some authorities to be labelled a source of omega-3 PUFA. The mechanisms regulating fatty acid isomer distribution in bovine tissues remain unclear. Further enhancement of beef lipids requires greater understanding of ruminal biohydrogenation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-394
JournalMeat Science
Issue number3
Early online date06 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2014


  • Beef
  • Fatty acids
  • Health
  • Meat quality
  • Nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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