Estimation of beef marbling in the Longissimus muscle with computer image analysis of ultrasonic pictures of the Iliocostalis muscle area
This study investigated an objective method for estimating beef marbling using ultrasonic images of the Iliocostalis muscle and the Lomgissimus muscle area sections. Thirty‐one Japanese Black cattle steers were used in this study. The end of the left side shoulder blade bone was scanned using an ultrasonic device. Ultrasonic images were captured of the Longissimus muscle area and that around the Iliocostalis muscle area. Twenty items were measured in the two images using computer image analysis software. The level of beef marbling was measured according to the Beef Marbling Standard (BMS) for carcass grading, and the percentage of ether‐extractable fat content in the Longissimus muscle (EE). The difference in the gray level between the Iliocostalis muscle and intermuscular fat (X10) was used to estimate the BMS and the EE, which were highly correlated (r 2 = 67.72% and 61.30%). An equation was developed using four parameters from the two ultrasonic images, which could estimate the BMS (r 2 = 85.88%). This equation could also estimate the EE (r 2 = 68.98%). The equations used to estimate beef marbling were based on one to four parameters that included X10. Thus, ultrasonic images of the Iliocostalis muscle area section are important for estimating beef marbling.
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