Cholesterol content and methods for cholesterol determination in meat and poultry

Thu Dinh, Leslie Thompson, Michael Galyean, J Brooks, K Patterson, Mallory Boylan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Available data for cholesterol content of beef, pork, poultry, and processed meat products were reported. Although the cholesterol concentration in meat and poultry can be influenced by various factors, effects of animal species, muscle fiber type, and muscle fat content are focused on in this review. Oxidative red muscles tend to have greater total lipid and cholesterol contents, although differences in the same types of muscles or cuts have been reported. Moreover, contradictory results among various studies suggest that unless there are pronounced changes in muscle structure and composition, cholesterol content is unlikely to be affected. Second, multiple issues in cholesterol analysis, including sample preparation, detection, and quantification, were evaluated. Cholesterol content of meat and poultry has been determined mostly by colorimetry and chromatography, although the latter has become predominant because of technological advances and method performance. Direct saponification has been the preferred method for hydrolyzing samples because of cost- and time-effectiveness. The extraction solvent varies, but toluene seems to provide sufficient recovery in a single extraction, although the possible formation of an emulsion associated with using toluene requires experience in postsaponification manipulation. The most commonly used internal standard is 5α-cholestane, although its behavior is not identical to that of cholesterol. Cholesterol can be analyzed routinely by gas chromatography (GC)-flame ionization detector without derivatization; however, other methods, especially high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with different detectors, can also be used. For research purposes, HPLC-ultraviolet/Visible/photodiode array detector with nondestructiveness is preferred, especially when cholesterol must be separated from other coexisting compounds such as tocopherols. More advanced methods, such as GC/HPLC-isotope dilution/mass spectrometry, are primarily used for quality control purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-289
Number of pages21
JournalCompr. Rev. Food Sci. Food Safety
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


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