Unsaturated fatty acids and sodium affect the liver-like off-flavor in cooked beef

B. E. Jenschke, J. M. Hodgen, J. L. Meisinger, A. E. Hamling, D. A. Moss, M. Lundesjö Ahnström, K. M. Eskridge, C. R. Calkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Beef knuckles (n = 60) were chosen from a population of 328 knuckles to test a selection procedure and determine the potential causes of liver-like off-flavor. In phase I, 2 independent panelists were allowed to smell the aromas or smell and taste samples of cooked beef to determine the presence or absence of the liver-like off-flavor and off-flavor intensity. The panelists tested knuckles from 5 feedlots, but only identified 29 as having an off-flavor. A kappa statistic was generated to assess the level of agreement of the 2 panelists that indicated the panelists moderately or substantially agreed when judgments were based on smell exclusively or smelling and tasting, respectively. Although the agreement was acceptable (κ = 0.57 and 0.76), there was not enough variation in the liver-like off-flavor and off-flavor intensity for the 2 panelists to detect differences compared with an independent sensory panel. Phase II identified factors that led to the development of the liver-like off-flavor in beef. The M. rectus femoris from knuckles identified from phase I were used. Sensory analysis, proximate composition, heme iron, mineral content, and fatty acid analyses were conducted. Stepwise regression was used to identify factors contributing to the liver-like off-flavor. Specifically, Na, 16:1, cis 18:1(n-7), 20:2(n-6), and 20:3(n-6) fatty acids explained (P = 0.021) 46% of the variation of the liver-like off-flavor. Although previously reported as playing a role in the development of the liver-like off-flavor, iron, heme iron, and pH had no effect in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3072-3078
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2007



  • Beef
  • Fatty acid
  • Flavor
  • Knuckle
  • Liver-like

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Jenschke, B. E., Hodgen, J. M., Meisinger, J. L., Hamling, A. E., Moss, D. A., Lundesjö Ahnström, M., ... Calkins, C. R. (2007). Unsaturated fatty acids and sodium affect the liver-like off-flavor in cooked beef. Journal of animal science, 85(11), 3072-3078. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2007-0038