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The relationship between stress responsiveness and beef quality of 40 Nguni, 30 Bonsmara and 30 Angus steers was determined. The L* values, pHu, cooking loss (CL) and Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) were determined. Catecholamine levels were determined from urine samples collected at slaughter. Bonsmara steers had the highest (P < 0.05) levels of catecholamines with respective epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine concentrations of 10.8, 9.7 and 14.8 nmol/mmol. Nguni steers had the lowest (P < 0.05) levels of catecholamines, with respective catecholamine concentrations of 5.1, 4.3 and 4.0 nmol/mmol. In the Nguni steers, there were significant (P < 0.05) correlations between catecholamines and L* and between dopamine and tenderness in meat aged for two days (WBSF2). In the Bonsmara, dopamine was correlated (P < 0.05) pHu, WBSF2 and CL. No significant correlations were found in the Angus. Therefore the relationship between stress responsiveness and certain beef quality traits may not be similar in different breeds.


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