Fresh hams display significant lean color variation that persists through further processing and contributes to a less desirable cured product. In an attempt to understand the underlying cause of this color disparity, we evaluated the differences in muscle characteristics and energy metabolites across semimembranosus (SM) muscles differing in color variation. The L* (lightness) and a* (redness) values were highest and lowest (P < 0.001), respectfully in the most caudal aspects of the muscle while the ultimate pH was the lowest (P < 0.001). Correspondingly, this region possessed highest (P < 0.01) glycolytic potential (GP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels but did not differ in the amount of myoglobin or myosin heavy chain type I isoform. These data show that differences in muscle may contribute to ham color variation but suggest other factors may mitigate or exacerbate these variances.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science