Meat Science

Girl in the meat lab evaluating meat

Peta-Gaye Clachar

Welcome to the meat science group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Our state-of-the-art facilities are among the best in the country. The program includes teaching, research, and extension activities covering the breadth of topics in the meat science field. Specific areas of expertise include extension programs in food safety, HACCP and youth education; teaching includes introductory animal products, meat evaluation, fresh meats, processed meats and a meat industry study tour (to name a few). Research ranges from animal growth and development, through fresh meats and processed/manufactured meat products. Please contact us with questions and comments. Faculty members will be glad to help you with any questions you might have.

Meet The Faculty

EMERITI: Dennis Burson, Chris Calkins, Steven Jones, Roger Mandigo

Research in meat science ranges from animal growth and development through fresh meats and processed/manufactured meat products. Undergraduate work opportunities include research and laboratory work in meat chemistry, assisting graduate students in research, development of websites and educational materials for bovine and porcine myology, meat plant facility work, and U-CARE research products.

ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS:

Pre-Harvest Research to Improve Meat Quality and Quantity

  • Utilizing the NUtrack Livestock Monitoring System* to improve production efficiency of livestock.
    • Development of the NUtrack Livestock Monitoring System is a collaborative effort between the Department of Animal Science (Ty Schmidt and Benny Mote) and College of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Eric Psota)
  • Non-evasive prediction of changes in body weight and estimation of body composition of beef cattle and swine prior to harvest
  • Utilization of the NUtrack System to accurately determine head count of swine at the point of shipment and upon arrival at the abattoir.
  • Accurate and rapid Identification of health compromised animals and aggressive/damaging behaviors.
  • Understanding the physiological, molecular, and whole animal response associated with ß-adrenergic agonist supplementation and stress.

Product Research

  • Exploring dry-aging. There are many beliefs about the process that are proving to be incorrect.
  • Identifying ways to make new and better products with enhancement strategies such as pre-marinated beef, investigation of ingredients and effects on tenderness, taste, and color.
  • Evaluating the nature of flavor (and off-flavor) in beef.
  • Determining the impact of distillers grain on meat characteristics such as marbling and flavor is being evaluated.
  • Developing understanding of the impact of HACCP food safety interventions on meat product quality.
  • Investigating the impacts of oxygen level of color of frozen beef as it is critical for frozen meat sales.
  • Investigating how to reduce microbial spoilage through ingredients, packaging, and processing technologies to reduce food waste and food loss.
  • Conducting collaborative research on the application of high-pressure processing to improve the safety and shelf life of meat and pet food products while maintaining product quality.
  • Assessing natural or clean label ingredient technologies and their impact on product quality and safety to address consumer trends.
  • Researching sous vide cooking to provide guidance to ensure product safety as it is growing in popularity.

Research Directly Tied to Beef Production

  • Evaluating the recent FDA approved growth enhancement, optaflexx. This growth enhancement technology improves feed efficiency with minimal changes in tenderness or taste of beef.
  • Investigating the impact of oxidative stress on meat. The biochemistry of postmortem events might help explain differences in the tenderization process among animals.
  • Exploring nanotubes as a means to evaluate the status of oxidative stress in animals in near-real time. This is a new application of the technology that has never been done before.