Tasco-Forage: IV. Influence of a seaweed extract applied to tall fescue pastures on sensory characteristics, shelf-life, and vitamin E status in feedlot-finished steers

J. L. Montgomery, V. G. Allen, K. R. Pond, M. F. Miller, D. B. Wester, C. P. Brown, R. Evans, C. P. Bagley, R. L. Ivy, J. P. Fontenot

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32 Scopus citations


Tasco-Forage is an Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed-based product that has increased antioxidant activity in both plants and animals. Endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum ([Morgan-Jones and Gams] Glenn, Bacon, and Hanlin)-infected and uninfected tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) pastures in Virginia and Mississippi during 1997 were treated or not with 3.4 kg Tasco/ha in April and July. There were two replications of each treatment at each location. Forty-eight steers (6/replication) grazed pastures at each location (n = 96) from April to October prior to transportation to Texas Tech, Lubbock, for finishing during a 160-d period in the feedlot. Blood (antemortem) and liver (postmortem) samples were collected. After slaughter and chilling, the left strip loins (IMPS #180) were collected from three randomly selected steers from within each pasture replication (n = 48). Strip loins were vacuum-packaged and stored at 2°C. At postmortem d 7, 14, 21, and 28, strip loins were removed from packaging and fabricated into 2.54-cm steaks. Following each fabrication day postmortem, the strip loins were repackaged and stored at 2°C until the following postmortem time. After the prescribed fabrication, steaks were overwrapped with polyvinyl chloride film, subjected to simulated retail display at 2°C for up to 3 d, and subjective and objective color were evaluated daily by a trained panel. Steaks from Mississippi steers that had grazed Tasco-treated fescue retained higher (P < 0.05) CIE a* color scores throughout retail display. Steaks were more uniform and had less discoloration and less browning (P < 0.05) if they were from steers that had grazed Tasco-treated fescue, and the effect was greatest for steers from Mississippi (location × Tasco interaction; P < 0.05). The endophyte in tall fescue may decrease uniformity and increase lean discoloration and two-toning of beef steaks when removed from vacuum packaging on or beyond d 21 postmortem (endophyte × Tasco × postmortem day interaction: P < 0.05). Vitamin E in liver was increased (P < 0.06) and serum vitamin E was decreased (P < 0.09) in steers that had grazed the treated pastures. These experiments indicated that Tasco applied to tall fescue during the grazing season can improve color stability and extend beef shelf-life, particularly in cattle grazing infected tall fescue. The mode of action of Tasco is not clear, but antioxidants and specific vitamins may be involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-894
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2001


  • Aquatic Plants
  • Endophytes
  • Meat Characteristics
  • Vitamin E


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