Diet and genetics influence beef cattle performance and meat quality characteristics

Mwangi, Felista W., Charmley, Edward, Gardiner, Christopher P., Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., Kinobe, Robert T., and Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O. (2019) Diet and genetics influence beef cattle performance and meat quality characteristics. Foods, 8 (12). 648.

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A comprehensive review of the impact of tropical pasture grazing, nutritional supplementation during feedlot finishing and fat metabolism-related genes on beef cattle performance and meat-eating traits is presented. Grazing beef cattle on low quality tropical forages with less than 5.6% crude protein, 10% soluble starches and 55% digestibility experience liveweight loss. However, backgrounding beef cattle on high quality leguminous forages and feedlot finishing on high-energy diets increase meat flavour, tenderness and juiciness due to improved intramuscular fat deposition and enhanced mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This paper also reviews the roles of stearoyl-CoA desaturase, fatty acid binding protein 4 and fatty acid synthase genes and correlations with meat traits. The review argues that backgrounding of beef cattle on Desmanthus, an environmentally well-adapted and vigorous tropical legume that can persistently survive under harsh tropical and subtropical conditions, has the potential to improve animal performance. It also identifies existing knowledge gaps and research opportunities in nutrition-genetics interactions aimed at a greater understanding of grazing nutrition, feedlot finishing performance, and carcass traits of northern Australian tropical beef cattle to enable red meat industry players to work on marbling, juiciness, tenderness and overall meat-eating characteristics.

Item ID: 61121
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2304-8158
Keywords: diet; genetics; meat quality characteristics; tropical beef cattle; stearoyl-CoA desaturase; fatty acid binding protein 4; fatty acid synthase; Desmanthus legumes; supplementation; growth performance
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Copyright Information: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open accessarticle distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY) license (
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRC-NA), CSIRO/JCU Agrimix Joint Research Project
Projects and Grants: JCU College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, CRC-NA P-58599
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 23:38
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300303 Animal nutrition @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 100%
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