Abstract: Our overall objective was to better understand the effects of added pyruvate on enhanced beef color stability. The 2 possible mechanisms assessed were the role of pyruvate in lipid oxidation and direct interaction between pyruvate and beef myoglobin. Microsomes were incubated with pyruvate at pH 5.6, 25 °C, and lipid oxidation was measured hourly for 3 h. Bovine oxymyoglobin at pH 5.6 was incubated with pyruvate and used to quantify both redox stability (metmyoglobin formation) and pyruvate-myoglobin adduction using mass spectrometry analysis. Surface color and lipid oxidation were measured on ground beef patties stored for 6 d in polyvinyl chloride over-wrap (PVC) or high oxygen. Addition of pyruvate to microsomes decreased lipid oxidation compared with controls (P < 0.05). Conversely, no effect on myoglobin was observed (no changes in redox stability and no peaks corresponding to pyruvate were observed; P > 0.05). However, pyruvate increased color stability and decreased lipid oxidation of ground beef patties packaged in PVC and high oxygen. Pyruvate decreased nitric oxide metmyoglobin-reducing capacity and oxygen consumption of patties compared with controls (P < 0.05). This research suggests that pyruvate may improve beef color stability primarily through its antioxidant effect on lipids.
Practical Application: Discoloration of meat often results in significant revenue loss. This study suggests that pyruvate can improve the color stability of patties packaged in high oxygen and PVC primarily through its antioxidant effect on lipids.