Dietary zilpaterol hydrochloride. II. Carcass composition and meat palatability of beef cattle

J. M. Leheska, J. L. Montgomery, C. R. Krehbiel, D. A. Yates, J. P. Hutcheson, W. T. Nichols, M. Streeter, J. R. Blanton, M. F. Miller

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Experiments were conducted at 3 US locations (California, Idaho, and Texas) to determine the effects of dietary zilpaterol hydrochloride and duration of zilpaterol feeding on carcass composition and beef palatability. At each site, 160 steers and 160 heifers were stratified within sex by initial BW (study d - 1) and assigned randomly within BW strata to 1 of 4 treatments in a randomized complete block design (4 blocks/treatment for each sex). The 4 treatments were arranged in a 2 (no zilpaterol vs. zilpaterol) × 2 (20- or 40-d duration of zilpaterol feeding) factorial. When included in the diet, zilpaterol was supplemented at 8.3 mg/kg (DM basis). Each pen consisted of 10 animals. After slaughter 2 carcasses per pen (n = 64 per trial site) were selected. The entire right side of the selected carcasses was collected for dissection and chemical analysis of the soft tissue. Additionally, the left strip loin was collected for Warner-Bratzler shear force determinations and aged to 28 d postmortem. Sensory analysis was conducted on the Idaho trial site samples only. All data were pooled for analyses. Feeding zilpaterol hydrochloride increased carcass muscle deposition (P < 0.01) of both steer and heifer carcasses. However, carcass percentage fat of steers and heifers was not affected (P > 0.11) by the zilpaterol treatment. In heifer carcasses, carcass moisture percentage was increased (P - 0.04) and bone percentage was decreased (P - 0.02), whereas in steer carcasses, carcass moisture and bone percentage were not affected (P > 0.10). In heifer carcasses, carcass ash percentage was not affected (P = 0.61) by zilpaterol, whereas in steer carcasses, carcass ash percentage tended (P = 0.07) to be increased. The protein-to-bone ratio was increased (P < 0.001) by zilpaterol hydrochloride treatment in both steers and heifers, whereas the protein-to-fat ratio was not affected (P = 0.10). Cooking loss of the LM was not affected (P = 0.41) by zilpaterol treatment of steers or heifers. However, LM Warner-Bratzler shear force was increased (P = 0.003) on average (3.3 vs. 4.0 kg) due to zilpaterol hydrochloride treatment of both steers and heifers. In both steers and heifers, LM sensory panel scores of overall juiciness (6.2 vs. 6.0), tenderness (6.2 vs. 6.0), and flavor intensity (6.2 vs. 6.0) tended (P = 0.06) to be decreased in cattle supplemented with zilpaterol. Zilpaterol hydrochloride is a repartitioning agent that seems to affect carcass composition primarily through protein deposition. However, zilpaterol treatment can adversely affect tenderness and other palatability traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1384-1393
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Beef cattle
  • Carcass composition
  • Tenderness
  • Zilpaterol hydrochloride
  • β-adrenergic agonist


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