Effects of supplemental vitamin D3 on feed intake, carcass characteristics, tenderness, and muscle properties of beef steers

K. Karges, J. C. Brooks, D. R. Gill, J. E. Breazile, F. N. Owens, J. B. Morgan

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34 Scopus citations


Research was conducted to determine the effects of supplemental dietary vitamin D3 on DMI, carcass traits, Warner Bratzler shear (WBS) force, calpastatin activity, plasma minerals, pH (0, 3, 12, and 24 h after slaughter), water-holding capacity (WHC), and sensory characteristics of three muscles. Pre-slaughter vitamin D3 treatments included no supplemental vitamin D3, 6 × 106 IU (MIU) of vitamin D3 for 4 d, or 6 MIU of vitamin D3 for 6 d. Cattle were slaughtered and carcasses were chilled for 48 h before removal of steaks from the longissimus, gluteus medius, and biceps femoris muscles. Steaks were aged at 2°C for 7, 14, or 21 d before cooking to a final internal temperature of 70°C for WBS and sensory panel analysis. Dry matter intake was lower for steers supplemented with vitamin D3 for 4 or 6 d. Live and carcass weights were lower (P < 0.05) in steers supplemented with vitamin D3. Supplementing 6 MIU/6 d of vitamin D3 decreased (P < 0.05) WBS values of gluteus steaks (pooled over aging times). Longissimus steaks from steers supplemented with vitamin D3 for 6 d had lower (P < 0.05) WBS force values than these steaks from control steers or steers fed vitamin D3 for 4 d at 7 d postmortem. Biceps femoris steaks from steers receiving vitamin D3 for 4 d had higher WBS values than steaks from control steers at 14 and 21 d postmortem. Feeding vitamin D3 at 6 MIU for 6 d decreased (P < 0.05) the percentage of steaks that had WBS values ≥ 3.86 kg for all steaks. Feeding vitamin D3 had no effect on palatability traits evaluated by trained panelists. Blood Ca concentrations were greater (P < 0.05) when vitamin D3 was fed and with increased vitamin D3 feeding time. Feeding vitamin D3 for 6 d (vs 4 d) delayed pH decline for all muscle types after 0, 3, and 12 h postmortem. Water-holding capacity was increased (P > 0.02) after 0 h, 24 h, and 21 d postmortem when vitamin D3 was fed and was greater at 0 and 24 h if vitamin D3 was fed for 6 d rather than 4 d. These data suggest that supplementing 6 MIU of vitamin D3 will decrease DMI and improve beef tenderness through increased blood plasma Ca concentrations and WHC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2844-2850
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001


  • Beef
  • Calcium
  • Carcass quality
  • Tenderness
  • Vitamin D
  • pH


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