The basic characteristics of meat include its colour, water holding capacity and tenderness. These properties are influenced by the chemical composition of the meat (muscle), the proportions of different types of muscle fibres, the physical and chemical condition of the muscle, and the integrity of the internal structures of muscle fibres. The most important variables that influence many of the properties of meat include the pH value, which falls in muscles post mortem. The speed and depth of this fall then plays a key role in determining the characteristics of the meat.
Selected characteristics of fresh meat and influencing factors: a review
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