Acta Vet. Brno 2008, 77: 539-546

Indicators of the Internal Environment of Beef Cattle during Fattening and their Correlation to the Quality of Beef

A. Pavlík1, R. Filipčík2, P. Jelínek1, M. Bjelka3, Z. Havlíček1, J. Šubrt2

1Department of Animal Morphology, Physiology and Genetics, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry,Brno, Czech Republic
2Department of Animal Breeding, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Brno, Czech Republic
3Department of Breeding and Reproduction, Research Institute for Cattle Breeding, Ltd., Vikyrovice, Czech Republic

Received September 25, 2007
Accepted June 11, 2008

The objective of the study was to determine selected indicators of the internal environment in individual cattle categories during the period of fattening to evaluate the relation of the individual blood components to the growth intensity and qualitative indicators of the meat. The trial involved half-siblings - bulls, heifers and steers housed in one stable. The threesome always had a common father. During the trials the live weight was monitored and blood samples were taken on days 310, 403, 448, 479, 512, 554 and 618 of age. The concentrations of total proteins, glucose, total cholesterol, urea and catalytic concentrations of ALP, ALT, AST, calcium, inorganic phosphorus, magnesium and copper in the blood plasma were assessed. In all cases the levels of indicators of the internal environment were within the range of the physiological values for the respective age category. Compared to bulls and steers, the concentration of total plasma cholesterol of the heifers was significantly higher (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). The last samples were taken prior to slaughter of the animals and the individual components were correlated with the nutritional values and meat indicators; the correlation between the amount of glucose and urea in the blood serum and the tenderness of the meat was significant (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01). The correlation between the concentration of proteins in the blood plasma, the level of nitrogen or total protein in the muscles, the water-holding capacity and meat tenderness was positive. The study provides a basis for implementing helpful adjustments in current cattle management practises. Blood indicators presented in this paper can be added to existing knowledge to benefit veterinary research and clinical evaluations.