Carcass and meat quality

Responsible scientist: Stefaan De Smet (short CV)

Link to a short introduction movie

Research of our group emphasizes on meat and carcass quality in farm animals to advance knowledge towards improved composition, quality and value of meat and carcasses. With our research we aim at contributing to healthy and sustainable food production.

Our group harbors the Cel Begeleiding Karkasklassificatie (CBKc, link only in Dutch), which is the responsible scientific service and research Centre in Flanders for classification of cattle and pig carcasses in abattoirs. The activities of CBKc include a.o. official training of classifiers, scientific support to stakeholders involved in the assessment of carcass composition and classification, and tests for approval of new instruments in this area.

The meat quality research of our group focuses on sensory quality of fresh meat and technological quality for further processing. Expertise is available on genetic and peri-slaughter factors affecting traits like tenderness, colour and water-holding capacity of meat from different species with focus on pork and beef. In-depth meat biochemistry research in our group involves study of post-mortem enzyme activities and processes determining the oxidative stability of meat and meat products.

Research on the health value of meat in our group focuses on optimization of the composition of fresh meat from different species towards meeting nutritional recommendations. Emphasis has been given to alter the fatty acid composition of meat through animal feeding strategies, with particular focus on the long-chain fatty acid metabolism. Histidine containing dipeptides in meat is another area of current interest. Our latest research focuses on the digestion of meat and meat products and (mitigation of) the potential harmful compounds formed during these processes.

Our group relies on a consolidated (bio-)chemical orientation of the Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Animal Product Quality with well-equipped laboratories, focusing on methods for properly assessing the technological quality, stability and nutritional value of meat from different species.




Health value of meat

  • Fatty acid composition
  • Digestion of (processed) meats
  • Histidine-containing dipeptides

Meat quality

  • Eating and technological quality
  • Lipid and colour stability
  • Protein oxidation